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Sat November 2, 2013
President Obama and Boston: What the president was right about
The Red Sox duck boat parade streamed through the streets of Boston as fans by the hundreds of thousands lined up to cheer on the improbable dream team that won the 2013 World Series.
While no athletic accomplishment can ever leaven the horror of the Boston Marathon bombings for survivors and the still-suffering families shattered by this cowardly act of terrorism, it was nonetheless grand to see the simple majesty of a gesture made at the road race finish line by Red Sawx players.
Led by Jonny Gomes, several players, survivors and a group of first responders gathered around the World Series trophy and launched into `God Bless America.’
John Lackey, the winning pitcher in the clinching Game 6 of the series said it best after the game. Nothing the Red Sox could do this year would erase the pain of that day, Lackey said, but the victory might put a smile on the face of victims and their families for a few hours or so.
Behind all the 617 shirts and the Boston Strong hats is the reality of what happened in this most beautiful, historic and learned of American cities. The only major league baseball game of the season that is played in the morning is held annually on Patriots Day at Fenway Park. It is a spring rite, part of the glorious civic celebration that is this Massachusetts state holiday that honors the Revolution that began in New England.
New Englanders are resilient. What outsiders sometimes view as smugness, we natives know as the attitude that has made our region and its most important city flourish through wars and depressions, the immigration of people from around the globe, massive changes in the economy and generations of losing seasons by the Red Sox.
``Bostonians don’t love easy things, they love hard things – blizzards, the bleachers at Fenway, a good brawl over a contested parking place,’’ wrote Dennis Lehane, a son of the Hub. ``What a Bostonian means when he says you messed with the wrong city is, `You don’t think this changes anything, do you?
Which is the way most of us interpreted the famous David Ortiz F-Bomb that was dropped at Fenway after the tragedy.
It was put more eloquently by President Obama when he spoke at an interfaith religious service at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross after the bombing. ``When the Red Sox, the Celtics, the Patriots, the Bruins are champions again –much to the chagrin of New York and Chicago fans – the crowds will gather and watch a parade go down Boylston Street. And this time next year, on the third Monday in April, the world will return to this great American city and cheer even louder for the 118th Boston Marathon.’’
This huge Red Sox celebration proved the president was prescient.We are confident that April, 2014 will underscore his message.