Each year, the city absorbs into its colleges and universities tens of thousands of teenagers, 18-year-olds, from every corner of the world, each of whom is seeking, in one way or another, to learn something and to become whatever it is they are destined to become. The boy from Arizona, there on a scholarship, who has never before seen snow. The girl from Montana, who's never seen anything but Big Sky. The lucky son of diplomats. They all arrive in late summer to a city used to showing children what it means, and what it takes, to live in a great American metropolis. No other city in the nation does this as well.
And, every year, in a cycle renewed for hundreds of years, the city disgorges tens of thousands of college graduates into the world. This means that there are millions of men and women wandering around America today who spent some of the best years of their lives in and around Boston, walking some of the very streets splattered with blood yesterday in the wake of the Marathon bombings. Boston is where those students like me came of age. It's where we met our spouses or significant others. It's where we learned our craft. It's where we connected with the friends and mentors we would have for the rest of our lives. Even if we can't say we are "from" Boston we surely confirm when asked that we are "of" Boston. It remains in our blood.