COMMENTARY | Patriots' Day in Boston, Massachusetts commemorates the Battles of Lexington and Concord, which sparked the Revolutionary War -- the campaign that won us our independence from tyranny and lit the fuse of our unwavering dedication to freedom and a society wrapped in the warmth of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Philadelphia Phillies' center fielder Ben Revere lives out his American dream on the fields of our national pastime. But yesterday, even while plying his trade against the Cincinnati Reds, Revere was just another one of us. Even while turning in what may be the most sensational defensive play we may see this season, he did it with a heavy heart.
On Patriots' Day, re-enactors are led by police escort, playing out the famed ride of another Revere, warning citizens that the enemy approached.
There were no warnings in Boston on April 15, 2013. No patriot on horseback had word to caution of the senseless cowardice that would play out in Copley Square near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Thousands upon thousands of athletes, so dedicated to pushing their bodies to the limit of their sport, lined up and put their passion into play in the spirit of the day and of competition. Thousands more lined the streets to support them. Fathers, sons, mothers, daughters, sisters, brothers and friends both foreign and domestic took part in what is most certainly an international event run on a uniquely American day.
The good people of Boston and the visitors to their strong-willed, blue collar town had no warnings because the evil in our modern world does not present itself before us for a fight. It slinks, lurks in the shadows of its worthless existence, crawls forth like a grub in the name of some sadly ill-remedied insanity or some insane notion of belief in something that couldn't possibly hold validity clerically if this is a result of its teachings.
But undeterred, the good in our country, and in our world, rose up to squash evil, as we watched hundreds of people -- volunteers, citizens, brave first responders, Boston PD -- rush to the aid of anyone that may have needed it in the face of what had to have been a harrowing scene filled with the uncertainty of its finality. This was not one bomb, but two. Who was to say to those people that wouldn't turn their backs on the injured there wasn't a third or a fourth in the area?
There's something inherently good in most people. And while the people of Boston banded together to help one another the rest of our country mourned for those who suffered through the ordeal, grew angrier at its senselessness, and responded with prayer and support.
This is a sports page. But while this horrific event centered around a sporting event, sports are inconsequential on days like today. They go on, because we go on. Our resolve has been tested before and sadly, it seems ever more evident that it will be tested again.
The Twitter universe was another frenzied scene of prayer and support. The hashtag of the day was #PRAYforBoston.
We're often left feeling helpless after tragedies such as this. Excuse me, tragedy is incorrect. Tragedies are accidents. I prefer to use pre-determined, diabolical insanity. We want to help, and while web sites arise where we can donate money and we lean on the power of prayer to somehow help carry victims and their loved ones through, we are saddened that we can't do more.
Perhaps that's why Ben Revere took some white athletic tape and a Sharpie and affixed it to his outfielders' mitt with the words "PRAY for Boston" written on the tape.
"Every day is precious," Revere said. "You never know what's going to happen. We live in a scary world."
Maybe it was a little bit fitting when the Red's Todd Frazier scorched a laser to right center that it was Revere who flew into the picture like a rocket and launched himself, parallel to the turf, five feet in the air and flashed his glove to make the highlight reel catch of the season thus far.
The catch brought attention to his glove, the tool of Revere's craft. The catch made every sports news highlight show. It would have any other day, but perhaps on this day, it made those shows more prominently because that tool had a piece of tape with a message on it. And maybe, just maybe, Revere ran a little faster, stretched a little further, willed himself a little more, to make that catch and get that message out there.
We were way ahead of you, Ben. There are so many of us that feel that way. And we thank so many of the patriots who helped take care of those who couldn't help themselves in those terrible moments. You are truly to be revered more than any leaping catch. I'm positive Ben Revere would agree with that message.
Pete Lieber is a freelance writer who has covered the Philadelphia Phillies for more than three years. No joke here today. Follow him on Twitter at @Lieber14.
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