Patriot’s Day and the Boston Marathon bombings

This blog is so completely ‘off topic’ for Project Write2Them, but I simply must share in light of the tragedy Monday in Boston…Boston, my hometown!

My heart is breaking as I think of all my family and friends in Boston, who have experienced first-hand the terror and heartache of a terrorist attack. This event especially hits home because I grew up in the wonderful town of Medford, Massachusetts, whose citizens are grieving the loss of one of their own daughters, a lovely 29 year-old woman, Krystle Campbell.

I call Medford a ‘town’ because Medford is the biggest ‘small town’ in the metro Boston area. A mere 7 miles north of Boston, Medford is actually a city of 60,000 people, where it seems everyone is related to someone in town or knows someone’s family. Families intermarry, adult children buy their aging parents home and generation after generation return to the ‘fold’ of the Medford community. Medford celebrated families and its rich heritage in history of the early American colonies. Growing up in Medford, my parents never worried about myself or my two sisters; we played outside until the street lights came on. Dodge ball, kick ball, arrow tag and Red Rover filled our days and nights…neighborhood games played on the quiet side streets and in friends’ yards.

Patriot’s Day weekend was always a special time in Medford, a parade followed by the reenactment of Paul Revere’s ride from Charlestown through Medford to Arlington and finally, Lexington and Concord, spreading the word to the Colonists that the Red Coats (the British Soldiers) were marching out from Boston. On April 19, 1776, Colonists fought the British in the famous Battle of Lexington and Concord, where the ‘first shot heard around the world’ was fired and a wonderful new nation was born. Returning home to Medford on Patriot’s Day weekend was like coming home on Thanksgiving, complete with attending the 100 year-old Thanksgiving Day morning football rivalry with neighboring Malden or coming home for Christmas. Simply put, Patriot’s Day weekend was always a mini high school reunion! Just walking through ‘the Square’, you were sure to meet friends from elementary, middle and high school, their siblings and their parents! Now, maybe these experiences are not unique for some towns across our country, but graduating classes from Medford High School during the 1970’s and 1980’s had between 750-900 students.

As I complete this blog, Boston and the surrounding communities are on lock down as the police and Federal law enforcement officials are in pursuit of the one remaining terrorist, the other killed earlier. I hope that the capture of those responsible for this terrorist action bring some peace to the people of Boston.

About Helen Simmons

I am founder and Executive Director of Write2Them, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving communication between family members and loved ones in military service by turning email into letters from home. You send email and your loved one receives a letter. I am a proud mother of a Airman, a wonderful daughter, son-in-law and grandbabies and wife to my wonderful supportive husband of 34 years.
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