Sunday, April 28, 2013

A moment of silence for Boston and the National Anthem

(image via google)

You know, I started a wrandom wrambling post a few days before the Boston Marathon bombings and it's still sitting in draft form, likely never to be published.  It's not that great.

The morning of the race, I found a live feed on the webz and watched amazed at the talent of the leaders.  Sadly, they stop the feed once the men's and women's winners come in.  I marveled at their speed and ability and quite frankly covet slightly their natural body types that aid in their quickness.  I do always love to see an American in the mix!  Go Kara!

Earlier I texted my boss that I wouldn't be in to work (sick), I went to the doc, got an Rx and was sitting at the pharmacy waiting when my bff called with the horrifying news.  She was watching the news coverage and thought I would be too.  When she described what was going on, my stomach dropped.  I had friends there.  What the crap?!?!

After getting my antibiotics, I hurried home, turned on the TV and sadly it confirmed everything Tib had told me.  I started to cry.  I fired off a text to my friend Paul begging him to tell me that he and Rachel were okay.  I called Splenda and cried some more.  I watched the news, kept Facebook up where all my running friends were doing check in's and literally did not move the rest of the day except to answer the phone from worried family and friends, watch facebook and reply to emails and messages from fellow running family member or friends who weren't sure if I was there or not.   Once I got Paul's text back that he and Rach were good I breathed again, and continued watching.

For any marathon runner, Boston is IT.  The dream.  The ultimate goal of qualifying and then being able to race it.  It's certainly on my bucket list.  It's really the BIG one.  I thought of all runners who were affected but more so I thought of  those at the finish line.  Splenda Daddy has spent a fair share of his time at marathon finish lines and he can attest to the special feeling, energy, spirit, vibe that is there.  It's very difficult to explain and I can only imagine it's intensified in Boston.

As a marthoner, it hurts.  What those cowards did is hurtful.  My heart aches for those that lost their lives and for those that lost their limbs.  What an ultimate insult to blow off limbs at a running race.  It's despicable and I pray for the justice system to correctly handle the situation, we get all the information we need, there is due punishment and then increased protection from future assaults.  Will terrorism ever go away?  I sadly don't think so, but authorities can learn from this and hopefully prevent other attempts.

Nationally, the country embraced Boston, it's people, it's very city into one ginormous hug that extended beyond just the marathon.  To all it's people, the landmarks, the local sports teams.  Everywhere.  I find that a great thing!  And that's not easy coming from a Yankee's fan with such a deep seeded rivalry with the Red Sox, but I will concede that I find it nice that the entire community came together with the country behind them.  The best of humanity.

Locally, the racing community came together as well.  Every local specialized running store organized a special run complete with "Remembering Boston" (or some other similar logo) shirts to raise money to send for the victims fund.  Impressive how much money was raised here in Utah, thousands of miles away.  I'm proud of my local running family.
(image via google)

The Salt Lake Marathon was the first in the nation after the bombings so much ado was made about it's safety and of course the respect and honor given for the victims of the Boston terror.  It's always a nice touch and I enjoy participating in a show of solidarity for marathoners and their supporters.  I really do.  Please don't mistake the rest of my post for anything different.
(image via google)

Saturday at the half marathon I raced, as with every race, there is some business to be taken care of at the start line.  Almost always, there are some general instructions, some welcoming, some "get everyone energized" talk.  Hopefully (but not often enough) the National Anthem will be played, a flag flying and the opportunity to show our patriotism and respect for our country and those who fight to keep our freedoms.  However, my disappointment comes in that inevitably, the National Anthem goes ignored.  Only once have I ever been in a situation where the Anthem is played and people are silent and showing respect.  Hands over hearts and either silent or quietly singing along.  Once people.  And that was on base in Camp Pendleton where it's natural and automatic. (you'll have to dig, it's in the middle of the post) It means something there.

Back to Saturday.  The general business was discussed, the appropriate energy raised and then (as I suspect will be with every race this season) a moment of silence was given in behalf of Boston.  I kid you not, it went dead silent.  I looked around in amazement to see every single person with their mouth shut, looking forward or heads bowed.  No fiddling with ipods.  No whispering to running mates.  Just complete and utter silence.  No one even walking or moving.  It was like everyone just simply froze where they were at and gave their complete thoughts and feelings in a surge towards the Boston victims.  Touching.

And then the announcer came back on and away we went.

Compare and contrast to the respect shown when/if the National Anthem is played at a start line.  First off, very few races still do it.  Why?  Why have we lost that?  Or better, ignored such an important piece of any sporting event?  And then, IF it's played, why is there not complete and utter silence such as what I experienced when we remembered Boston?  Other than the time I related about Camp Pendleton, there is never silence.  There are people laughing, talking, stretching, adjusting ipods, plugged in already and ignoring, or even running to get to the start line.  Such complete and utter disrespect.

It hurts my heart.

In a huge way.

For without our National Anthem (what it represents), there IS no Boston.

Again, please don't get me wrong.  I'm all for recognizing the terrible actions that affected so many at such a beloved sporting event.  My heart goes out to EVERYONE that was there because it's something they will live with the rest of their lives, whether or not they were physically harmed.  I'm learning enough about PTSD to know that many folks that were simply in the city that day, or ran and crossed the line early, or was watching the race clear back at mile 20 will suffer the effects of the trauma that day.  My heart aches for them and I pray that they find peace. I mean no disrespect of any kind to anyone who was there.

My only point is, I find it terribly wrong that so much importance is given to these moments of silence and how much respect is shown for Boston and yet our National Anthem and our United States flag is sometimes blatantly ignored.  Again, without our stars and stripes, we have no Boston.

Runners are a unique brand of folk.  Especially distance runners.  There is something in our DNA almost that makes us different.  I love it.  I love that we unite in causes so dear to our hearts.  I simply wish, we would be more united in the big picture of our great nation ALL the time, and not just the events that seem to wound our hearts.

So for any race directors who may stumble upon my little ole blog, might I suggest something?  Let's play the National Anthem at the start of EVERY race.  Alongside with our flag flying.  And then perhaps if wanted, a moment of silence for Boston?

And for my running family?  When the national anthem IS played, please silence yourself.  Find the flag, face it, place your hand over your heart and either quietly sing along or shut up and be respectful.  You can fix your ipod later.  You can stretch that hamstring one more time in a minute or two. You can crack that joke to your running buddy along the course after the gun goes off, but for those moments when our old glory is flying and we are listening/singing to our National Anthem, I beg of you.  Shut.up.  And please be respectful.

To me, that would make this season of racing the absolute best!

Happy running but more importantly - God Bless America and all that she stands for!
(image via my front porch - yes it's personal)


tammy said...

I agree. The lack of respect shown whenever the national anthem is played is disgusting.

Pedaling said...

I "get" exactly what you are saying.

Without the National Anthem played, especially in an event like this with a moment of silence in honor of fellow Americans who were killed, maimed and hurt by those who hate America, it lessons the impact of what the moment of silence is supposed to be about in so many ways.

Soloman said...

That it takes an act of evil to remind Americans how much has been sacrificed by so many, so that we may be free... that is a real tragedy.

wendy said...

Very well put my friend. We can not become LAZY over the respect that's needed to be shown for the flag and national anthem. These are basically Sacred things in my mind.

Connie said...


karen said...

I have a niece who ran in the Boston Marathon. I had no idea where she was when the blasts happened. Her husband was waiting at the finish line for her. I left a very sobby message on her phone to let me know that they were safe, and thankfully she did. She had just been cleared from the medical tent when it happened. She was 45 minutes ahead of the finish line blast. Only 45 little minutes. Way too close for comfort. I'm glad your friends are also safe and I grieve for those that were in harm's way.
I agree with you. More respect needs to be shown for our country and flag. And adults need to teach their children.

karen said...

I forgot to mention that wherever we drove during my week in Boston last week, there were signs all over the highways and everywhere reading "Boston Strong." It brought tears to my eyes how people of all types were united during this horrible tragedy. Like 9/11 we need to remember and have no patience or tolerance for such cruel, cowardly acts, and those who perpetrate them.

Viki Bailey said...

I love your post here. It is so true - I wish people had more respect at all times for Old Glory and the anthem. Today at our school the entire student body put together a little run around the parking lot for one of the teachers who was at Boston and only 3 or so minutes away from the finish line when the bomb went off. Since she never got to finish the marathon - they had her finish it today - and had a few kids from each grade run it with her. They were all cheering and chanting for her. They had posters and were all waving flags and they had a moment of pure silence and there was pretty much no dry eyes in any of the adults. Pretty neat.

DesertHen said...

I totally get what you are saying! There just seems to be a general lack of respect for anything patriotic these days! Irks me too no end!