Guest Op-ed Celebrating One Boston Day

By Mayor Martin J. Walsh

Every year on the third Monday in April, tens of thousands of athletes gather in Hopkinton, and begin the 26.2-mile journey to Boylston Street in Boston. All along the Marathon route, spectators cheer on their friends, family members, and complete strangers. It brings our city together like nothing else. That’s why the Boston Marathon is much more than a road race. It’s a celebration of everything Boston stands for — our grit and heart; our resilience and hope.

In recent years, the Marathon has come to stand for something even bigger. April 15, 2013 left our city reeling — it was one of our city’s darkest days. But it also showed us the generosity and compassion of everyday people. We came together as one community, as one Boston, and we showed the world what it meant to be Boston Strong. We showed that we would never let the darkness win. And we vowed to take back the finish line.

Over the last six years, we have turned the Marathon into a movement. April 15, will always be One Boston Day. It’s a Citywide day of service, reflection, and healing. It serves as a way to celebrate the resilience, kindness, and strength demonstrated by the people of Boston and around the world in response to the tragedy. We honor those we lost, and those whose lives changed forever, with acts of kindness, big and small. It’s a day when Boston shines brightest. And it’s a tradition that we will continue for years to come.

This year, for the first time since 2013, One Boston Day and the Marathon fall on the same day. It will still be a citywide day of service. I call on everyone to do something good for your community on Monday or the weekend leading up to it. Go to OneBoston Day.Org and tell us what you will do.

This year, we are also finalizing our work on permanent markers on Boylston Street to honor the lives that were lost near the finish line on April 15, 2013. Artist Pablo Eduardo is working closely with families to honor their loved ones in a meaningful way. These markers will reflect our City’s spirit after the tragedy: bent, but not broken.

This remembrance consists of stone markers on two separate sites. Bronze and glass pillars will rise and twist into each other, representing the lives lost. The markers will forever serve as a symbol of hope, representing our city’s resolve. We look forward to their completion this coming summer.

Until then, please join us in preparing for the fifth annual One Boston day on April 15, 2019. I encourage you to visit OneBostonDay.Org, to see the acts of kindness planned by individuals and organizations throughout the city and around the world. Last year, we counted more than 43,000 individual acts of kindness. Bostonians shared their projects on social media, and the hashtag #OneBostonDay was trending nationwide. This year, as we get closer, we’ll be highlighting the projects people are planning. Whether it’s volunteering at a food bank, or helping your neighbor with a household project, there are countless ways to honor this special day. I hope that the stories of others’ actions inspire you to get involved this year, and for many years to come. For 123 years, the Boston Marathon has represented the strength of the human spirit. Now, along with One Boston Day and our permanent marker, we will continue to show the world what it means to be Boston Strong.

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