Monday, April 21, 2014

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness #bostonstrong

Today was the much anticipated 118th Boston Marathon following the tragic events of last year's bombing.  The marathon is always run on Patriot's day which marks the first bloodshed of the Civil War in America.  These are things I didn't know until about four years ago when I started running...BUT you don't have to be a runner to understand how important today was for the City of Boston or the running community -- simply put if you believe in the freedoms granted to the citizens of the United States of America -- today was an important day!

As I anxiously watched the marathon (while explaining some of the history to my students)....the Pledge of Allegiance came to mind which then led me to the second line of the Declaration of Independence:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

It is easy in today's world to see all the negativity that surrounds us...just turn on the local news or the world is filled with so much crime against humanity.

April 15, 2013, was no different...tragedy had struck USA soil again.

Why?  That is what many of us asked a year ago as we watched the aftermath of the Boston bombings...three dead and injuring an estimated 260 individuals....lives forever changed.  Senseless tragedy!

I can't pretend or understand to know the answer to that question...I don't think anyone does.  But what I saw today as Meb Keflezighi, the first USA male to win the Boston Marathon since 1983, crossed the finish line was just that...."Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness."

To have an American win the Boston Marathon following last year spoke volumes to me!

Boston is #bostonstrong 

Like many friends of mine, I follow several survivors of April 15.  How can you not? Their stories are an incredible amount of inspiration and hope.  It is proof that good prevails over evil.

Two particular survivors came to mind as I thought about what Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness means to me on this day:

Life - the period of time a person is alive; also, the experience of being alive.

Jane Richard.  Jane is the younger sister of Martin, the eight year old boy who was killed in the bombing.  Jane, her older brother and both parents survived that day.  This photo was posted exactly one month ago on the Richard family blog page when Jane received her new "cheetah" running leg.  In her parents words, "There is much activity in our lives these days, which goes a long way toward distracting us from what is certain to be an emotional one-year anniversary on April 15.  A day doesn’t pass when we don’t cry over the loss of Martin, but we also laugh when we think about him, which feels like the right way to remember a little boy with a zest for life and a caring heart."

Liberty the state or condition of people who are able to act and speak freely; the power to do as one please; freedom from physical restraint. 

Adrianne Haslet-Davis. As I said, I follow several of the survivors; however, I didn't learn about Adrianne until earlier this month when I read this article and started seeing her name come up in several news stories with the marathon approaching.  She has spoken out publicly that Tsarnaev should receive the death penalty for his crimes.  Adrianne, by profession, is a ballroom dancer.   She has had a rather strong and rapid recovery and as you can see if already dancing again!  She is quoted saying, "I'm not suffering.  I'm thriving."  

Pursuit of Happiness - right to freely pursue joy and live life in a way that makes one happy without violating the law or rights of others

Meb Keflezighi is an American long distance runner and graduated from UCLA where he won four NCAA championships in track & field.  He is the 2004 Olympic Silver Medalist in the Marathon and finished in 4th place in the 2012 Summer Olympics. He won the 2009 New York City Marathon on November 1, 2009 and as of today the winner of the 118th Boston Marathon in a time of 2:08:37.

Meb is quoted in today's post-marathon interview saying "The crowd was phenomenal. I used them and they used me. The energy was just phenomenal. Toward the end I was remembering the victims who passed away. I said to myself 'I'm going to use the energy to win, just like the Red Sox did.'" 

And he did WIN...for Boston, for the USA and for himself...his time was 31 seconds faster than his personal best.  

“It was not about me,” said Keflezighi. “It was about Boston Strong.”

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