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This week I had planned to write a little something about beauty in Boston.  When I lived in Paris I felt surrounded by beautiful buildings, spaces and people.  I had planned to photograph the Boston Public Library and flowers blooming on Commonwealth Ave signifying the start of Spring…  But instead, after this week’s tragic events at the Boston Marathon, I feel compelled to write about a different kind of beauty.

The Marathon is one of my favorite days to be a Bostonian.  Every year I go to cheer on the runners because I’m so moved by what an amazing personal triumph it is to run a marathon.  The whole world comes to Boston – so not only do we cheer for people, but we cheer for countries.  On Monday morning, my friend Maura and I were  yelling, “Go John!  Go Liz!  Go Sweden! Go Peru! Go Ethiopia!”  We marveled at the physicality of the elite runners and we remembered our time together running the Dublin marathon.

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We went to watch at my favorite location- the turn at Hereford and Boylston when the runners see the finish line for the first time.  The cheers from the crowd are loud, you see arms fly up in the air in pure joy, smiles appear on almost every face because this is a beautiful moment.  For runners this is a dream realized.  They’ve trained for months.  Many are supporting charities.  They’ve come from all over the world.  Running and completing Boston is a marathoner’s most prized moment.

We all know what happened a few minutes later.  And rather than talk about sadness or anger, I want to point out what a beautiful thing it was to see people- emergency workers, volunteers, and even runners- rush to the aid of those in need.  I was amazed by Boston’s reaction to this tragic event.  The city was prepared, our doctors and hospitals were ready, and ordinary people stepped in to help in any way possible.

Boston is a truly beautiful city.  Yes, we have our quirks but at our core we care about people.  This picture from a vigil, held last night, really resonated with me…

boston_marathon_bombing_vigil(1)_296As we mourn those lost and wounded here in Boston, we are thinking of the rest of the world.  We are an international and an intellectual city.  We realize that we are not the only ones dealing with this kind of violence and tragedy.

I’m sure in the days and weeks ahead there will be a lot more ugliness and anger in the news.  But for me, I will keep in mind the beautiful moments and people that make Boston strong.

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