The most vivid and real memory I have in my 22 – almost 23 – years, is being a terrified and very confused fifth grader. That’s where I was on the morning of September 11, 2001: in my fifth grade gym class. I remember a lot of confusion and mixed messages from my teachers; as a person with a lot of teacher friends as an adult, I can promise you that my elementary school did a horrible job in the first hours, but then again, who can really blame them? I remember the weeks that followed that day not so much moment by moment, but I remember feeling intensely scared and sad. I wonder now what it must’ve been like to be an adult in that world. I can’t imagine which of us was more afraid. But, I also remember feeling uniquely proud. I was as aware as I could be at 10 years old that the whole country had been shaken to its core. I saw flags on every home and never had I ever and probably never will I feel again such a strong undercurrent of patriotism in absolutely everything.
I am proud every day to be an American. It may sound corny and trite, but it’s true. I am truly, truly thankful for all of the men and women who protect what we have and more so, I’m thankful that I have all of the opportunities as a person and as a woman that I do. As I get older, I’ve grown acutely aware that far too many women aren’t afforded all of the beautiful things I have in life. In 2001, though, I was proud, specifically, to be a New Yorker. The whole country felt that day, but no one more than New Yorkers. My small 10 year old heart bled for my uncles and their fellow cops who wandered down to the rubble day in and day out. All I wanted to do was help New York. The pride remains more than 10 years later.
I am a New Yorker through-and-through. Few other cities make me feel welcomed. We’re conditioned as a people to hate everything that’s not home. Boston, though, I love. I’ve spent one weekend there in my life and knew immediately that it was for me. I love the people because they felt a lot like my own – quiet and not wanting to be bothered, but still warm and fiercely loyal. The feel of the town: much like Manhattan but quieter, older and smaller; far less intimidating. The narrow streets and old buildings, the history, the camaraderie – I loved all of it. Boston felt a lot like home to me. If not for the winters, I would seriously consider calling it so one day.
I went to college with a lot of New Englanders and Bostonians. I take an immediate liking to everyone from Boston I meet. They remind me much of myself. Loyal, sarcastic, slightly hardened, but eternally in love. The love and devotion they feel to their city is only rivaled by my people’s dedication to ours. I love this love because I understand it. My little fifth grade heart felt it deeply and it’s been ingrained there ever since. You love your Sox just like I love my Mets; our unending dedication and hope, season after season. Essentially, our Original Six rivalry lives deep inside my soul. The passion New Yorkers and Bostonians feel for sports, family, their city, really everything has always made sense to me as kindred. Our rivalry exists because we’re both the best of what we are.
So Boston, yesterday, the twinge I felt of my fifth grade fear and sadness shook me. Hard. You are in my thoughts and prayers now and eternally. Because I know my home, I know this won’t break you, much like it didn’t break us. Whoever is responsible for this has failed and likely awakened the beast.
So, from New York to Boston – all of the love and hope. New York Loves you.