New York Daily News

April 21, 2014


 

Denis HamillBoston shows it's brave and 'strongah' a year after the Boston Marathon bombings 

 

Millions cheered as 36,000 runners sprinted along the 26.2-mile route of the Boston Marathon. Through unity, celebration and words such as 'strongah' printed on clothing, the city sent a message to any terrorist that it was even stronger than in 2013.

By Denis Hamill

STEPHAN SAVOIA/AP
Runners in the first wave of 9,000 cross the start line of the 118th Boston Marathon on Monday.
HOWARD SIMMONS FOR THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Millions cheered the 36,000 runners who participated in the Marathon.
TOMMY GILLIGAN/USA TODAY SPORTS
U.S. Army Fife and Drum Corps play the national anthem before the baseball game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.
DARREN MCCOLLESTER/GETTY IMAGES
Marc Fucarile, injured in last year's Boston Marathon bombings, prepares to throw the first pitch in the game.
WINSLOW TOWNSON/AP

A Boston Red Sox jersey with a Boston Strong patch is seen on the jersey of Mike Napoli before the start of the game.

Boston had the terrorists on the run.

My favorite sweatshirt of the day read “Strongah.”

Perfect Bostonian grammah to send the message to any terrorist that this great city was not just “Boston Strong” but even stronger than in 2013.

A year after two terrorist bombs killed three and maimed dozens, Boston poured out onto the streets Monday in a rollicking river of defiant runners 36,000 Boston strong. They were cheered by a million spectators strong along the 26.2-mile route of the Boston Marathon that was only made louder, Strongah, and more patriotic by a pair of coward bombers last year whose names I never heard mentioned once by anyone I spoke to on Marathon Monday.

And here came one of those spectators, a Boston native crossing Newbury St. in Back Bay with his wife, lawyer and journalist Rikki Kleiman.

“I’ve been celebrating the Boston Marathon since I was a kid in this great city,” said NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, who grew up here. “I missed last year because I was in London on business. But I wasn’t going to miss this year. We have a 12-person intelligence team here, bomb-sniffing dogs, and at least one NYPD counter-intelligence detective assigned here in an information exchange for a year. What happens in Boston matters to New York and me personally. But also because terrorism is now a major part of modern policing in major American cities.”

He looked around crowded Newbury St. as citizens greeted him in a proud way.

    
DENIS HAMILL/DENIS HAMILL  

Ty Davies, of Golden, Colo., holds his daughter, Ceci, 11 , with his son, Wes, 12, at his side as they wait for his wife Deb to cross finish line.

 

“As you can see, like resilient New Yorkers after 9/11, no one is frightened in Boston today,” Bratton said. “We’re standing in front of Daisy Buchanan’s, a famous Boston sports bar, and people pack the street wearing their Boston Strong T-shirts.”

Down on Boylston St. citizens cheered the runners. They rooted strongah for themselves and for each other and for Beantown.

“I was a sergeant in this area right here,” Bratton says. “I got promoted to a superintendent here on my way to becoming commissioner of the Boston Police Department. My son used to live across the street. So I take anyone setting off bombs here very personally.”

The Boston cops were omnipresent and the citizens respected the “ring of steel” that circled the finish line. “Just look at the people,” Bratton said. “Talk to the people of Boston and you will see that the terrorist bombs did not scare anyone.”

HOWARD SIMMONS FOR THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Bratton said the NYPD brought a 12-person intelligence team, bomb-sniffing dogs and at least one counter-intelligence detective. 'What happens in Boston matters to New York and me personally. But also because terrorism is now a major part of modern policing in major American cities,' he said.

“This is my town, born and raised,” said Yio Suazo, 25, of the South End, wearing matching Boston Strong T-shirts with daughter Mia, 7, hurrying along Newbury St. “Last year I was with Mia playing in the Common when we heard the bombs and the screams.”

“I smelled the smoke,” said Mia.

DENIS HAMILL/DENIS HAMILL

Patrick Lynch, (l.), president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, poses with people wearing "still Boston Strong" T-shirts at Monday's Boston Marathon.

“But I have no fear going to the marathon this year,” said Suazo. “This is my city, not the punks who did this.”

“We saw the bombing on TV last year,” said Ty Davies, 43, of Golden, Colo., his daughter Ceci, 11, on his shoulders, and son, Wes, 12, at his side on the corner of Boylston and Dartmouth Sts. “And my wife Deb announced that next year we were all going to Boston and she was going to run the marathon. And here we are waiting for her to cross the finish line. You can’t be afraid or the bad guys win.”

David Zeh, 51, of Rochester, agreed. “My son Carl ran last year while I waited for him in a bar called Fire and Ice,” said Zeh, growing emotional in the retelling.

“I wasn’t here,” says his wife, Denise. “But we were determined to return this year as a family. If you don’t fear the terrorists, they lose.”

HOWARD SIMMONS FOR THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Members of the NYPD Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association brought a PBA canteen truck to serve coffee, snacks and water to Boston cops.

Patrick Lynch, president of the NYPD Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, drove with a bunch of PBA officers in a PBA canteen truck that they set up on Newbury St. to serve coffee, snacks and water to Boston cops. “After 9/11, Tom Nee, the Boston PBA president, and countless Boston cop volunteers came down to help us,” said Lynch. “We don’t forget. We were here last year after the bombing, too. This is a fraternal order. We might not get along talking sports but when terrorists attack our cities we’re all Americans and first responders.”

Bratton stopped by to shake hands with the PBA guys. “I love that the PBA is here to support Boston cops,” said Bratton. “I visited former Boston Commissioner Ed Davis the other day who did a great job handling the bombing last year. I met with the new commissioner, Bill Evans, who was a cadet under me here. I couldn’t be any prouder of these men. It’s an honor to work together on this issue of terrorism that touches us all.”

“I come to the marathon every year, too,” said Kleiman. “I have a law office here in Boston. I have many friends who run in the marathon. The only reason I wasn’t here last year was because I was with Bill in London. But no way were we going to miss the marathon this year. I don’t know anyone who has been frightened off.”

“We went to Fenway earlier today to see the ceremonies,” Bratton said. “You have never felt more patriotic than when you hear the police pipes and drums play the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ to honor the victims of last year’s bombings. The crowd roared for these people. The city of Boston in no way has been intimidated by those bombings. Boston is strong.”

Strongah.