A 'Tough, Smart, Proud Town' Meets Terror With Determination | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

A 'Tough, Smart, Proud Town' Meets Terror With Determination

Play associated audio

People in Boston can speak for themselves. And do. Loudly, bluntly and often with humor that bites.

It's a city that speaks with both its own broad, homebrew, local accent — although no one really pahks thea cah in Havahd Yahd — and dialects from around the world. It is home to some of America's oldest founding families, and fathers, mothers and children who have just arrived from Jamaica, Ireland, Bangladesh and Ghana.

There are people in Boston who dress in pinstripes and tweeds, and tattoos and spiked hair. Sometimes, they are even the same person.

It has a history of hard racial attitudes and professed liberal politics, lots of Nobel laureates and, historically, more than a few ignoble pols. It's the city of splendidly posh museums and tightly-packed neighborhoods, where people know how to batten down doors against storms, get snow off the streets and keep going.

You could see a big streak of Boston when Mayor Tom Menino stood up to speak at this week's prayer service. He had just signed himself out of the hospital where he was recovering after surgery. The mayor still had a hospital bracelet strapped around his wrist. He had hospital machines that kept him going, cloaked by a sheet on his lap and he was steered to the podium by his son, a Boston police officer, who had been at the finish line of the marathon.

But the mayor of Boston insisted on getting out of his seat to stand at the podium and tell his city in a hoarse, husky voice that crackled like the wheels of one of Boston's T trains when he said, "We are one Boston."

This week's assault and tragedies in Boston could have caused scrambling, fright and panic. Instead, they revealed character. People ran unflinchingly into smoke, fire and blood. They worked through weariness, opened their arms and gave of their hearts.

Friday night, I got an email from my friend Gordon. He works in a restaurant and opened the doors so people from the race could stumble in for shelter and comfort. Friends who run a family bakery nearby came in crying.

"It will be some time before my anger subsides," Gordon said. The restaurant, which is usually bright and loud with laughter, has been quiet and somber. "Boston's characteristic cocky humor is taking a backseat," he said, but adds, "I was struck by the calm, serious resolve not to be intimidated. Boston is a tough, smart, proud town. We know what's important ... Bostonians refuse to lose our trust for one another."

And when police arrested the 19-year-old suspect Friday night, Boston ended a week that opened with a vicious crime of violence with an act of justice.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

After Decades In Storage, Damaged Rothko Murals Get High-Tech Restoration

In the early 1960s, abstract artist Mark Rothko created five murals for a penthouse dining room at Harvard University. By the late '70s they were trashed — sun-faded and splattered with cocktails.
NPR

If Exercise Is Work, Mindless Snacking May Follow

The idea that sacrificing at the gym entitles us to a reward seems to be embedded in our collective thinking. Researchers set out to test how this affects how we eat after a workout.
NPR

Newspaper Editor, Activist John Seigenthaler Dies At 86

He worked for The Tennessean and took leave to assist Robert F. Kennedy in the White House and during the senator's 1968 presidential campaign. He later helped shape USA Today.
NPR

Friday Feline Fun: A Ranking Of The Most Famous Internet Cats

Forget the Forbes Celebrity 100. This is the Friskies 50 — the new definitive guide of the most influential cats on the Internet. The list is based on a measure of the cats' social media reach.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.