photos, Visual Journal

Boston’s Redemption

The first winter of my life took place here in Boston.

I was an ignorant west-coast transplant that had no idea what I was in for with the New England winter. It was brutal. Every week it seemed like another storm fell on our heads and brought the snow to our knees. I twirled in Sandy’s wild winds and became a snow angel on a hill of Nemo’s snow. I spent my days freezing and my nights thawing out. It was all snowmen and snowflakes until the bitter winds of February began blowing ice shrapnel in negative temperatures. The world grew dark and the sun didn’t bring hope until the spring fluttered around.

And what a beautiful Spring she was.

Everything melted and sprouted back to life by the time the city’s rite-of-spring came around: Marathon Monday. It was the first day that we could ditch the long-johns and run around in tanks and cutoffs. Tennis shoes came out from the backs of closets. Everyone was jovial and we believed in the sun again.

Then the bombs came and all of that happiness was shattered.

The night of the manhunt–Friday night of Marathon Bombweek–all of the students in the college dormitories crowded around the police scanner apps and listened to the chase in Watertown. There was no way that this was our reality–everything sounded too much like a TV show. The only sounds outside were sirens and blue lights dancing all across the river from our windows. There was nothing to do but wait until some resolution met itself.

After Tsarnaev was captured and the lockdown was lifted, the cooped-up students ran out of the dorms and down the streets howling and cheering in a rowdy mob all the way to the Boston Commons. The BPD were our superheroes that night, and they were loved and celebrated and hugged. Many of us were too young to remember the face of America after 9/11, but this was the first time we were in college and consciously reminded how terrorism will never break the American spirit.

This point proved itself again when months later the Red Sox were batting around the Green Monster in the 2013 World Series. I watched from my dorm room window a block away in Kenmore Square. When the game was over and the fireworks shot up in the sky, I dragged my roommate from her homework and witnessed Boston celebrate her redemption again.

These 35mm film photos capture the only two times in my life I’ve been in a mob of people cheering for America, and felt like they were talking about my country. It all happened here, to us, in Boston, Massachusetts.



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