Have you made it to the finish line yet?
If you haven't visited Copley Square, where the 2013 Boston Marathon ended in noise, smoke and blood, you should. There, a memorial grows to those killed or injured in the bombers' attack on our Marathon.
You'll find hundreds of bouquets, stacked neatly against metal fencing; candles by the dozens; herds of plush animals; arrays of flags - not just American flags, but flags of many nations. Along one side are baseball caps, lined up neatly: Sox, Patriots, Celtics, Bruins, Nike, Reebok.
A Red Sox shirt hangs from a light pole, a Bruins flag on the fence. This is Boston, where sports are our joy and our consolation.
There are messages of hope and encouragement written on bits of cloth, scraps of paper and scrawled on the pavement. A small tree is festooned with ribbons, plastic jewelry, rubber bracelets with inspirational messages, a string of folded cranes, a set of tiny ceramic bells. A stuffed bear sits in its branches, carrying a tiny flag that reads "we will finish the race."
This marathon memorial was not designed by an artist or chosen by a committee. It is the product of thousands of personal gestures, the expression of thousands of broken hearts.
The memorial reflects our values. Not just Boston Strong, the slogan that pulled us through the harrowing days following the April 15 attack, when bodies were broken, killers were on the loose, and no one knew when, where or if the next blast would come.
But also Boston Generous. Boston Optimistic. Boston Diverse. Boston Welcoming. Boston Compassionate. Boston International. All the world runs in the Boston Marathon. Most people watching can't remember the last time an American won the race, but we cheer for all the runners, even those whose names we can't pronounce.
Runners aren't the only foreigners who pass through our towns and find homes in our midst. This is a place that attracts the brightest minds from around the world, where people of all nations come to build a brighter future for themselves and their families. It's no coincidence that one of the three people killed in the blasts was a BU student from China, Lingzi Lu. Some of the sentiments being expressed these days aren't so noble.
There has been outrage at the news that the family of accused bombers Tamerlan and Tzhokhar Tsarnaev received food stamps and housing assistance during their decade in Cambridge. "They took our money and attacked our country," people cry.
A House committee is investigating, but it's hard to see the point. Were state employees supposed to deny food stamps to the family back in 2002 because someday their sons would grow up to commit a crime? Should there be a political test applicants must pass before they receive housing vouchers? A religious test?
Page 2 of 2 - Because the suspects were born overseas, suddenly foreign students and foreign marathoners, aren't as welcome as they were just a few weeks ago. For some, the alleged attacks by these immigrants are reason to be suspicious of every immigrant.
This week we had the unseemly display of nastiness involving the body of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, killed in a shootout with police in Watertown. After his wife refused to claim Tamerlan's remains, the Worcester funeral home holding the body was threatened and the Cambridge city manager declared there was no room in his city's cemeteries for a man who had lived there for the last 10 years.
All the facts surrounding the marathon bombings have yet to come out. Conspiracy theories are multiplying, and politicians are ever ready to use tragedies like this to grind some old partisan ax. The current consensus is that Tamerlan's acts weren't "foreign-directed," but were "foreign-inspired."
But until someone produces evidence to the contrary, this looks like the act of an angry man and his pliant brother, who justified acts of insane violence through crazy ideas about Islam. Tamerlan and Tzhokhar were not the spear-point of some vast Islamist conspiracy. They do not deserve to be called America's enemy.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev is no martyr, nor is he the proud chief of a vanquished tribe. We don't need to put his head on a pike in Copley Square.
Those aren't our values. If you want to see our values, visit the makeshift memorial at the Marathon finish line.