Boston Strong

Monday is Patriots' Day in Boston. Monday is also The Boston Marathon. Today is also the three year anniversary of the 2013 Marathon. You all know how much I love the city of Boston and the sports teams, but I rarely talk about one thing I really love: the people.

risa xu our boston

It may sound weird, but I think about the day of The Boston Marathon in 2013 quite often. I think about what I was planning to do that day, how I wanted to stand outside of Sugar Heaven on Boylston Street, and almost as quickly as the weather changes in Boston, I changed my mind, turned around and walked back home.

I still remember seeing a friend of mine post on Facebook that he heard a bomb, or heard a bomb go off, or something like that while I was sitting on my couch, watching the runners on TV. And I remember thinking "That's not funny at all. Totally not something to joke about."

And then everything happened at once. The sirens roaring up and down Bowdoin Street and Cambridge Street. The sudden onset mixed feelings of panic and worry – I kept telling myself "I feel like I should  be doing something. Anything."

So off into the Boston Common I went. Just wanting to be with people, seeing if anyone needed a phone to use, just wanting to offer something.

one boston running towards kevin cullen

I have "Boston Strong" all over my apartment in NYC. From the rubber bracelets to my New Balance sneakers to books and magazines I collected over time. It's not any easier for me to look at pictures from that day – believe me, I thought I'd be much less affected by it – but sitting down and writing this, flipping through pictures still stirs up a whirlwind of emotions in me.

Whenever people ask me how I like New York, I say it's fine. Because it's true. It's not Boston. And while many people joke that I miss the place that New Yorkers go on vacation to get away from the city chaos, you don't know Boston like I do or like those that really are in love with the city do.

People ask me often why I love Boston so much – hell, I think my parents have asked me once or twice. My answer is always "The people."

Bostonians are the strongest, most passionate people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. The old men in the North End. The college students scattered all over the city. My professors (the good and the bad.) And even the homeless people – they have some of the most amazing and hilarious personalities! (If Ben still sits outside of the Dunkin Donuts on Cambridge Street in Beacon Hill, will you please buy him a cup of coffee for me?)

So for all of you that are running on Monday – I'm not wishing you good luck, because you won't need it. You have the entire city of Boston and the surrounding areas rooting for you and those cheers and roars will carry you farther than you could ever imagine. But just in case you need a little extra love, all of you will be in my thoughts – from Hopkinton to Natick & Wellesley all the way through Brookline and to the finish line – because I know every single one of you are #BostonStrong.

An "Open Letter" posted by the barriers to Boylston Street on April 17, 2013.

An "Open Letter" posted by the barriers to Boylston Street on April 17, 2013.

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