Home in Boston for Patriots Day, I woke my 5-year-old son at 4 a.m. so he could watch the battle that gave birth to a nation.
The annual re-enactment of the Battle of Lexington is an amazing tradition: Bostonians bundle up, stand eight deep, and climb trees and ladders to watch the patriots get trounced by the King's Army on Lexington Green.
First come the drums, signaling the approach of the British. Next, the gathering of the troops on each side of the common. Then an explosion of sparks and gunfire, a mess of red coats and tricorn hats. When the smoke clears, almost a dozen Minutemen lay strewn on the field, injured and dead, as their wives and children run to them.
As we watched the British soldiers march past the wounded toward Concord, my son asked, "But did we win in the end?"
I was halfway back to New York Monday when I heard about the explosions that killed three people and injured more than 170 near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. A bang, a bomb, a sidewalk strewn with casualties. I have lived in New York since 2001, I am raising my sons here, I probably will never leave. But Boston will always be my home. Isn't that how it is with the place where you are from?
I did not tell my son about the tragedy that happened near the very spot where we had stood this weekend watching runners pick up their numbers for the race they had trained so hard for.
But I hope I had already conveyed the best lesson he could learn: In Boston, we rise before the sun once a year to remember a fight that we lost. On that morning in 1775, our men lay in the battlefield, broken, as our enemies marched on. But as we bear witness to that loss, so too we remember the whole story. We persevered. We fought on. We won in the end.