It has been a week since the Boston Marathon and with the Tsarnaev trial still going on in Boston, it’s hard to let what happened two years ago slip back into your mind. If you live in the Boston area or have been following this case closely, you know that victims and witnesses were called to the stand just a few weeks ago and explained the horror they endured two Marathon Mondays ago. I still find myself on the brink of tears at the mention of Martin Richard and how his mother clung to his lifeless body begging him to wake up. Or when I see innocent people who now have to navigate life with prosthetic legs because a cowardly act reshaped their lives forever. Then there are the times where I am inspired by that same family and those same people, that after two years, are still fighting with all of their might to remain strong. Boston Strong is what most call it. I believe the phrase #BostonStrong brought the small community of Boston together because after the chaos that shook our city, we needed something to lift us up. After two years though, the phrase that may have saved us all has now taken on a new identity, MARKETING.
I was driving to work the other day and couldn’t help but make a face at a billboard selling protein shakes. I believe the phrase was similar to “in order to finish strong, you have to be Boston Strong,” with Boston and Strong highlighted in a different color. So what exactly do we have here? A marketing ploy for all of those marathon or wishful marathon runners to drink their product because hey, it will make you strong and we know how much you people like the phrase #BostonStrong. It may or may not have been their full intention but the vibe I received was not a good one. After two years, I strongly believe that the #BostonStrong phrase, hashtag, printed word, or t-shirt should be reserved for those who are the faces of Boston’s strongest, the survivors. Instead of the Richard family being known as the one’s who lost the youngest victim or Rebecca Gregory for being THAT girl that lost her leg, let #BostonStrong remain theirs and only theirs. It was their strength and determination to continue was what has and what will carry this city through and to the end of the finish line, not an artificial product.