Vinson: Marathon symbol of victory

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With a twist of eerie irony, the text message from a lady friend read: "Get to your TV quick! Bombs going off everywhere in Boston!"

  Out-and-about here in McMinnville that fateful day, I knew something major had happened, so I immediately drove to my house (five minutes away), turned on my television, and, via heavy news coverage on virtually every channel, learned of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.

  And here's why it was an "eerily ironical" event for me: The same lady friend who sent me the text on April 15, 2013, also, was the first person to alert me of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America!

  The Boston Marathon is an annual marathon hosted by several cities in Greater Boston in Eastern Massachusetts. Best I can research, it is always held on Patriots' Day, the third Monday of April. Inspired by the success of the first modern-day marathon competition in the 1896 Summer Olympics, the Boston Marathon is the world's oldest annual marathon, and ranks as one of the world's best-known sporting events. It is one of six of what is referred to as the "World Marathon Majors."

  As most know, two brothers, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, and Dzhokar Tsarnaev, 19, have been accused of setting off two bombs at the 2013 Boston Marathon, killing 3 and injuring approximately 300. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in a shootout with police authorities, and the younger brother was critically wounded, apprehended, and remains in police custody.

  As of this writing, authorities feel the brothers acted as "lone wolves," influenced by "radical Islamization" to the extent of harboring anti-American hostilities, and were not connected to a bigger "terrorist cell" or group . . . only time will tell . . .?

  Tragic as the bombing was, I'm going to jump time a couple beats and ask: How many readers have any idea, whatsoever, regarding the history behind, and the symbolic significance of, the "marathon," other than it's some kind of really long foot race?

  Layman's Marathon 101 lesson:

  The marathon, in fact, is a long-distance running event with an official distance of 42.195 kilometers/26 miles and 385 yards. It is usually run as an outdoor road race.

  According to some forms of history - or, better yet, plausible legend - the name "marathon" comes from the tale of Pheidippides, a Greek messenger.

 Legend states he was sent from the battlefield of Marathon to Athens to announce the Persians had been defeated in the Battle of Marathon, where he had just fought…the battle supposedly having taken place in August or September of 490 B.C. It has been written he ran the entire distance, approximately 26 miles, without stopping and burst into a crowd exclaiming, "???????????" (nenikekamen), translated into English as "We won!" Upon uttering these words of victory, Pheidippides collapsed and died.

 While some might argue that the story of Pheidippides is mere myth, others claim the distance he ran was much greater than 26 miles.

 Regardless, the "marathon" represents strength, discipline, and victory. And such could be the very reason(s) the troubled Tsarnaev brothers targeted the Boston Marathon because, arguably, it symbolizes American strength, discipline, and victory at their very pinnacle.

 Sadly enough, the Tsarnaev brothers' actions were effective: The 2013 Boston Marathon bombings will be covered by the media for years to come; books will be written; movies will be produced; careers will be made and ruined, etc.

 However, all those with anti-American sentiments be advised that the same "strength" and "discipline"  will render America "victorious" in the end.

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Mike Vinson
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