Last night my wife and I watched “Patriots Day” at a local cinema and I am still filled with pride and emotion. If you don’t know or perhaps just missed the trailers playing every couple of hours on the tube, “Patriot Day” is the story of the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15th of 2013. It is a very accurate chronological depiction (almost documentarian in nature) of the events of that day and the four and half days after that ended with the capture of the last surviving bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The other suspect, Dzhokhar’s older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed hours earlier in a massive shoot-out with the Watertown police in a residential neighborhood approximately seven miles from the bombing site at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
I was filled with emotion throughout the movie. I was born in Boston in February of 1954 at the Chelsea Naval Hospital and I am a retired Law Enforcement Officer as well as a U.S. Navy Veteran. After leaving the Boston area and traveling around the globe with my Navy family we settled in southern Maine two hours north of Boston where I finished out school and then took the enlistment myself. Patriotism kinda runs in my blood. What touched me most about the film was the indomitable spirit of all of those involved, not the least of which were the victims who showed such grit and courage in their long recovery process. The actions of the bystanders, victims and first responders during those events is awe-inspiring. The tenacity of both the federal and local law enforcement agencies made me proud.
I am not a fan of gratuitous graphic violence and gore in the movies but having said that the movie does have two scenes that are shocking in their realistic recreations of both the pressure cookers explosions at the finish line and the shoot-out in Watertown and rightfully so. I can only imagine how much worse the reality of those events really was.
As the movie ended my wife and I sat, still stunned by this recreation of such a tragic event and watched the credits roll. I couldn’t help but overhear the young man seated to my right asking his lady friend if she had cried. She responded “No,” and then I piped up “I did.” She then asked if I was from Boston and I told her I was born in Chelsea. In the short conversation that followed I learned that both she and her male friend were from Boston and that her friend has a buddy who is a Lieutenant on BPD. I had to ask him if the shootout in Watertown was as accurate or violent as depicted and he told me that according to his friend it certainly was. I shake my head in amazement at the heroic and selfless acts of these officers who ran towards, not away from, these monsters. I will not give away any more of the movie or even say that this one scene is reason to see the movie because that would denigrate the work of all of the other heroes who worked so diligently to bring the Tsarnaev monsters to justice. Just see the movie!
I am so blessed to have been born in the United States of America. I am proud to be an American, to be connected in any way with the city of Boston and her people and to have served with some of the finest men and women this country has to offer in both Law Enforcement and the U.S. Military. I would be remiss if I didn’t also give a shout-out to the New England Patriots and the Boston Red Sox!
I am not Roger Ebert but Barney gives “Patriots Day” Two Thumbs Up!
Post script: In addition to the three fatal victims of the bombing and Officer Collier who was shot to death in cold blood at MIT Boston.Com reported that 264 others reported to local hospitals for treatment. Also, Google Images has some photos of the bombing aftermath. Viewers beware! They are extremely graphic!