Boston Strong seemed to risk becoming just a feel-good-about-ourselves marketing slogan.
But Boston Strong was a living, breathing, sweating and running reality today.
A poignant and powerful mass demonstration against those who would sacrifice American lives and defile American institutions with violence.
The Boston Marathon, an annual reverential rite of spring for decades until last year’s two pressure-cooker bombs desecrated its tabernacle with hellish trauma — killing three and injuring 264, underwent an almost religious resurrection the day after Easter.
The volume of the redemption was breathtaking in scope, stoking the power of the resilient American spirit.
Arguably the most pivotal journey in Boston since the midnight ride of Paul Revere.
More than 32,000 people thronged with ghosts and horrid flashbacks crossed the starting line Monday at the Boston Marathon in an awesome in-your-face show of defiance.
It was a day they ran to prove more things transcendent than merely proving to themselves that they could run 26.2 miles in such a marquee event.
They ran, with lungs heaving in search of oxygen and legs threatening to stumble and then crumble, to prove something about their sport, their city and their country.
Many ran to honor the dead and wounded of a year ago. Many runners had the names of the victims scrawled on their bodies or race bib.
They did it all amidst extraordinary security that included a battery of surveillance cameras, more than 90 bomb-sniffing dogs and officers posted on roofs.
And in a finish so inspiring and fitting that it seemed almost scripted, Meb Keflezighi, a 38-year-old U.S. citizen who came to this country from Eritrea as a boy, became the first American in 31 years to win the men’s race.
Keflezighi wrote the names of the three dead on his bib along with that of the MIT police officer who was killed during the manhunt that paralyzed Boston.
Granted, much of the bombing damage inflicted last year will forever follow the victims, shadows growing longer with each setting sun.
But in a broader sense, the Boston Marathon now is no longer a bloody boulevard of broken bodies.
Boston Strong indeed.