By Ed Griffin
Four years and two days ago, two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. The explosions killed three and wounded 260 people. Flying shrapnel, which showered down upon the finish line on Boylston Street, wounded runners and spectators alike.
I was in Boston that year for business meetings and left town on Sunday, so I watched the surreal scene that Monday on television like many of you. I had attended a dinner on Thursday night at a restaurant that was ground zero for one of the bomb explosions and a colleague of mine owns a running store on Boylston Street, where the second bomb went off. Having visited Boston for nearly 20 years, I am as familiar with this section of town as I am with Armory Square in Syracuse. These landmarks have a special place for me.
Fast-forward to today and Boston is filled with the excitement of the marathon and my wife and I are back for the first time since the bombings. Daffodils are blooming around the city in support of the event, makeshift memorials are in place near the finish line and a wreath stands in remembrance to all those who were affected by a truly cowardice act.
The finish line area on Boylston Street has been closed since Saturday between Exeter Street, where our hotel is, and Commonwealth Avenue. Runners, families and friends are taking pictures at the painted finish line on the street. They also are taking a few moments to visit the memorials to the bombing victims. A strange atmosphere of excitement, pride and sorrow exists in the days leading up to the race.
On Saturday, at 2:48 p.m., exactly four years to the date and time of the bombings, a moment of silence was held to honor victims and to remember that day four years ago. Please watch the video we captured of this moment.
The Boston Marathon has become a state of mind for runners and non-runners alike in New England. Both local government and the public has embraced running and Patriot’s Day/Marathon Monday. It is the biggest day of the year in New England and the entire region reaps the financial reward from it. Fifty years ago, 741 runners ran the Boston Marathon. In 2017 the economic impact for the more than 30,000 runners participating will be more than $188 million.
Ellen and I stayed to see the race this year. We have so many friends and colleagues running. Congratulations to all who ran including the many members our Fleet Feet Racing Team who made the trek from Central New York. We ran a few miles with these special people this winter and enjoyed cheering them across the finish line.