One Boston Day, by Gioia Perugini

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to what it means to be #BostonStrong as the two year anniversary of the Boston Marathon attack approaches. There are multiple origin stories about how and when that phrase rose to popularity after the horrific attacks of April 15, 2013. Whether it was coined by an Ohio school superintendent, two Emerson College students or Will Middlebrooks (then of the Boston Red Sox), it remains a critical part of our City’s identity. Here are just a few of my favorite ways of being #BostonStrong.

The One Fund raised and distributed $80 million to support victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. Seventy-five percent of those funds were contributed in the ninety days following the 2013 attacks. Although it stopped accepting contributions late last year, it directs donors to a list of charities and programs created by the Fund itself as well as by members of the One Fund community.

The Boston Athletic Association will present the 119th Boston Marathon on April 20, 2015. Its charity program enabled runners to raise nearly $40 million for 300 non-profit organizations last year, and its signature blue and gold logo immediately identifies it around the world. It will welcome 30,000 runners and countless spectators and supporters to our city next week.

The son of a friend, who for the past two years has not had a haircut for the year between each Boston Marathon, holds a raffle contest to determine his next haircut. Last year he raised over $1,000 for the Martin Richard Charitable Foundation, to honor his friend Martin Richard and his message of peace. This year he raised double that amount (for an “Adam Levine” haircut, which bested last year’s Mohawk!).

The Honorable Marty Walsh, mayor of Boston, has dedicated April 15 as One Boston Day. This will be an annual day of service intended to honor the “resiliency, generosity and strength” the city of Boston showed in response to the Marathon attacks in 2013, and it certainly refers to the residents of our fair city, who, having endured the snowiest winter on record in 2015, are emerging out from under the snow banks, ready to greet spring, shop at local businesses and thaw out our winter economy.

As we once again cheer on the sidelines of Boylston Street, visit the Swan Boats and root for the home team on Marathon Monday, I hope that each of us has a moment to reflect on what #BostonStrong means to you and has a chance to contribute to the strength and solidarity of our community.

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