WOOSTA, MA — Private First Class John “Sully” Sullivan surprised family and fellow Guardsmen alike yesterday, when he reported that he had legally changed his name to “Boston Strong,” after learning of the Twitter hashtag Bay Staters have been using to help bounce back from the April 15 bombings at the Boston Marathon.
Strong, a part-time supply specialist attached to the 182nd Infantry Regiment, said the idea came about by accident.
“I got some new ink,” he said, flexing his biceps. On the left is the word “Boston” in the style of the Red Sox uniforms. “STRONG” is on his right bicep, in bulky block letters surrounded by lightning bolts.
“It was just a way of showing everybody that Boston will come back, you know?” Strong continued. “But the guys kept calling me ‘Strong Boston’ because they said I should have ‘Boston’ on the right and ‘STRONG’ on the left. Which totally doesn’t make sense, because you read from left to right,” he added, looking down at his stick-like arms, and reading from his left to his right.
A member of the company tried to interrupt at this point. “Hey, Sully! The CO wants to see you. Sully! Sully!” Strong avoided eye contact and kept talking, until the other soldier said “Fine. God. Hey, ‘617!’ The CO's looking for you!” As Strong grinned and skittered off, the other soldier added, “Boston Dumb.”
Reaction among his comrades was muted, to say the least.
Staff Sergeant Fortunato da Silva from New Bedford had the harshest words. “Dude’s not even from here. He grew up in Jersey until he was 13 or 14, then moved here. He’s lived in like four different suburbs, but acts like he’s the shit because he got kicked out of BC High.”
Specialist “Mean” Joe Verdi from Gloucester just rolled his eyes. “The tat? That’s fine. Good even, if he could have done it right. We’re all about 'Boston Strong' right now. Somebody fucked with us, you know? But the name? Whiskey tango foxtrot, my friend.”
Strong’s buddy, Specialist Jim “Murph” Murphy of no fixed address, was more supportive. “Me and another buddy, Frank Costello, took him to the Packy first and got a couple bottles of Irish whiskey. We were all real good and belligerent, like everybody was about the bombs. We all know people who were hurt, some bad. He got the tats because he didn’t have anything else he could do. Though the name change is totally asinine.”
Captain Connor McManus, commander of Delta Company, chose his words carefully. “As for the ink, I’m just glad he didn’t get ‘Delta Farce’ like a lot of the slick-sleeves do. In one way, it’s kind of sweet. A lof the guys have taped '#bostonstrong' to their gear, their helmets. But changing his name does him no good with the guys from Southie.”
McManus changed the subject, asking this reporter to finish up.
“I’ve got a safety briefing scheduled, to make sure they know the difference between aggravated assault and subduing someone who is creating a public disturbance,” he said.
"Westboro Baptist Church has said they’re going to be protesting at victim funerals, and the Governor has informed law enforcement not to interfere with the rights of protestors. But apparently, he and General Rice [Adjutant General] just keep playing phone tag,” McManus said, before winking significantly while tapping the side of his nose with two fingers.
The briefing began as this reporter was leaving.
McManus’ Marlboro-stained voice started, “Gentleman, what Staff Sergeant da Silva is issuing to each of you is a SWBAT16H 16-Inch Heat Treated Collapsible Baton, a special gift to the Massachusetts Army National Guard from the good people of Smith & Wesson, who are also from Massachusetts, and who would hate to see any funerals disrupted. This lesson will teach you how best to apply this device while leaving minimal forensic evidence."
His voice was drowned out by an avalanche of “Hooahs.”
To see a list of the names of the victims of this atrocity, please click here. It is being updated as names are released. To thank those who have cared for them, please consider making a donation to Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women's Hospital, or Children's Hospital Boston. Support for those affected can be donated through the One Fund.