Hope triumphs over the evil of terrorism

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P.E. Islanders among the over 30,000 people who participated in Boston Marathon

Spectators cheer near the finish line at the 118th Boston Marathon Monday, April 21, 2014 in Boston.

It was a historic day in Boston on Monday as thousands of runners lined up to participate in the annual Boston Marathon. And among those runners was a contingent of over 20 Prince Edward Islanders.

This year’s Boston Marathon had a completely different atmosphere, coming on the first anniversary of last year’s tragic bombing incident that killed three people and injured another 264. The bombing bloodied a world-class event, which was always seen as a celebration of life amid the renewal of the spring season.

The ugliness of last year made the City of Boston, the marathon organizers and race participants all the more determined to ensure this year’s event went ahead. To not do so would be to admit defeat to terrorism and violence.

Boston Strong was the theme of this year’s marathon that attracted over 30,000 people, some of whom had the names of last year’s victims written on their bodies or their race bibs. Because of last year’s bombing, the 2014 race was held under extraordinary security, including 100 new surveillance cameras, more than 90 bomb-sniffing dogs and officers posted on roofs. It went off without a hitch.

One of the race participants was a well-known P.E.I. runner, Stan Chaisson, who was also on hand for the 2013 marathon. He had finished that race and escaped injury, but the mood in leaving Boston was not one of celebration.

This year was different. He said he drew motivation in the large crowds lining the streets from the start to the finish line. Mr. Chaisson, 31, was the fastest Islander to complete the marathon, finishing in a time of 2:38:40.

“Today, there were places where I was definitely pulled along by the fans cheering,” Chaisson told The Guardian in an interview following Monday’s race. “The city itself coming together and inspiring all the runners, I think, was pretty incredible. I got goose bumps going through a lot of the different towns.”

Those feelings are vastly different than the mood of the participants last year who, in spite of whether they finished the race or not, were left emotionally scarred at the senseless carnage.

Some of the 2013 victims themselves returned for a ceremonial crossing of the finish line on Monday. “It was hard. It was really hard,” Heather Abbott said in an Associated Press story. She wore a “Boston Strong” sticker on the black prosthesis where her left leg used to be. “I was really nervous. I didn’t want to fall. ... I’m just glad we made it.”

The 2014 Boston Marathon proved yet again that the human spirit is hard to hold down. And that people believe in love and hope much more than hate and violence.

 

Planting seeds in young minds

 

Earth Day has come and gone for another year, but it’s good to see the special day is taken seriously in Prince Edward Island classrooms. Young people are our hope for many things, including better care of the environment.

Teacher Marcella Thompson’s Grade 2 class in Hunter River is getting the message. The classroom has four bins at the front of the room: one each for compost, waste, recyclables and paper. On the side of the bins is clearly marked in big letters what should go where. Near the back of the classroom is a table covered with books about garbage and the environment.

Two students in the class, Owen Longuepee and Madison Crabb, said they learned that garbage takes 150 years to break down into the ground. Planting deep environment thoughts into impressionable minds can only pay positive dividends in terms of environmental awareness.

Organizations: Boston Marathon, The Guardian, Associated Press

Geographic location: Boston, Prince Edward Island

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