By Don Toothaker
The Haverhill Gazette
---- — On a brisk April morning in 1775, brave colonists stood against the might of an oppressive British Empire and fired the first shots of the American Revolution.
These brave men — farmers, shopkeepers and tradesmen — changed our country and the world forever. They were patriots. We are patriots.
Boston remains proud of its revolutionary history. School children walk the Freedom Trail and learn the instrumental role of Boston and Bostonians in the American Revolution. Many local streets, towns and buildings are named for our colonial leaders and the colonists who fought for our independence.
The struggle for independence required great resolve and commitment, but what it needed most was purpose. The militia and Continental Army fought for the freedom of the colonies from the tyranny of the British Empire. Their success was founded in the unity of their purpose. They won their freedom, but they also formed a government that secures and maintains our freedom still today. Last week, their legacy was marred by the senseless violence perpetrated by cowards whose only purpose was to murder and maim innocent people.
On a brisk April afternoon in 2013, thousands of happy, hopeful people from around the world gathered near the finish line of the Boston Marathon to cheer on and congratulate triumphant runners. The marathon, the oldest race of its kind, is a global event. The race is a shining highlight of the Boston calendar and draws tens of thousands of people from around the world. Sadly, the joy of the day and many lives were shattered by the detonation of bombs by evil people. The explosions resulted in shock, mayhem, anguish and death. Boston was attacked. The people of New England were attacked. The world was attacked. We mourn the loss of those who died, we pray for those who are wounded and we support the families affected by the violence.
A surreal morning just a few days after the bombings, madness unfolded on our televisions before our eyes. The two suspects were engaged in more destructive violence all night in Cambridge and Watertown. Another person died and another was wounded. One suspect was dead and one was at large, being hunted by hundreds of police officers.
The suspects’ crazed purpose will be defeated. Evil doers can break our hearts, but they cannot break our spirit. We, like our forefathers, will stand firmly and bravely to maintain our freedom. Like the patriots, we will endure.
Email suggestions of Haverhill people and places to photograph to Don Toothaker at firstname.lastname@example.org.