Friday, April 19, 2013

Shoulder to Shoulder

Marilyn and I had dinner at Pepe’s, our favorite Mexican restaurant in Edmond, tonight. In business since the seventies, gray-haired Pepe is always at the front door, greeting his incoming guests. Pepe has an old—twenty years old, at least—big screen TV in the bar area where Marilyn and I usually eat. Pepe is a newshound, the TV usually on the local or national news. Tonight, as we ate fajitas and quesadillas, we watched the unfolding story of the second Boston Marathon bomber’s capture in Watertown, Massachusetts.

After an all-day lockdown, the citizens of Watertown had poured out to the streets, cheering, yelling, and clapping their hands in admiration as police cars—marked and unmarked—fire trucks and ambulances drove slowly out of the area. The smiles, cheering, and applause continued through the entire meal. They probably continue to cheer in Watertown, Boston, and the entire state of Massachusetts. I felt like cheering myself.

It dawned on me that today is April 19, 2013, the 18th anniversary of another horrible act of terrorism—the Oklahoma City Bombing. The citizens of Oklahoma City were not cheering eighteen years ago on this day, but like the good people of Boston they somehow got through all the carnage and suffering, shaken but not defeated by a cowardly act of terrorism. The faces in the crowd tonight on Pepe’s big screen TV reminded me what a melting pot Boston is. Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Christians, Jews, Muslims, pagans, blacks, whites, reds, yellows, maybe even greens. It did not matter. Everyone was standing shoulder-to-shoulder, everyone applauding, and everyone smiling.

It struck me that what is so powerful and compelling about this country is that we’re a family. A tribe formed by blood and sweat, working, fighting, and often dying for the common good. We hardly ever agree on anything, but when it comes to helping and protecting each other, we stand like those good folks in Watertown, Massachusetts tonight. Together, arm-in-arm, shoulder-to-shoulder.


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