Despite the love and admiration I have for the small town I’ve called home for the last 20 plus years, I’m troubled by the comparison.

By Willie Lutz (@Willie_Lutz)

On April 15th, 2013, two homemade bombs were detonated near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. The bombing, which took place on Boston’s holiday, Patriot’s Day, where kids get the day off of school, the Red Sox play an 11 AM baseball game, and the city unites for celebration, two terrorists took the life of three innocent people, took the limbs of 14, and injured an estimated 264. In the days following this event, the term “Boston Strong” united a city and brought renewed power to a town on a wire. 

Then, on May 27th, 2017, a fire in Loveland’s Historic District damaged three plus buildings leaving one firefighter injured, and another treated for exhaustion. The term “Loveland Strong” was coined shortly thereafter. It is being used as a slogan for fund-raising events to help Loveland’s fire victims.

[quote_left]One of these strongs is not like the other.[/quote_left]The examination of these two events are simply not equivalent. Despite the love and admiration I have for the small town I’ve called home for the last 20 plus years, I’m troubled by the comparison to the events in the one where half of my extended family calls home. 

Using the Loveland event and adding “strong” to the end of it is without taste or context. While oxymoronic, it’s to call an argument with your family the civil war in earnest. 

Conducting a terrorist attack on a holiday to a major United States city, where the term was phrased, is entirely different than redeeming another city’s unifying message after a fire. 

Using the deepest parts of my remembrance, I can only conjure two separate events where the term “strong” was affixed to the end of something; LiveStrong and Jersey Strong. LiveStrong was Lance Armstrong’s movement for cancer awareness, where Jersey Strong came in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. People continue to lose their life and struggle with cancer. 233 people were killed in Hurricane Sandy, count 157 of them as Americans.

[quote_right]The concept of training for your whole life, then not only the bitter feeling of failing to cross that race off your bucket list is harsh, but knowing you’ll never even be able to run again is soberingly depressing.[/quote_right]One of these strongs is not like the other.

Boston Strong was a message that united a city, a community (runners), and a country; Loveland Strong will unite a locality who has been feuding with their city government. Boston Strong left us with the famous “this is our f***ing city” quote from David Ortiz; Loveland Strong will be gone once the buildings are restored.

As a runner, knowing what heartbreak those who of trained their whole lives for this event is gut-wrenching. The concept of training for your whole life, then not only the bitter feeling of failing to cross that race off your bucket list is harsh, but knowing you’ll never even be able to run again is soberingly depressing. 

Calling this event “Loveland Strong” is to water down terrorist attacks, hurricanes, and cancer, which is legitimately cringe-worthy. I am left in shock that the phrasing continues to be used.  

I do express incredible sympathy for those who lost their residence, property, and business during the fire. Loveland absolutely deserves a unifying slogan, but a blatant rip-off of a slogan from one of the most magnitudinous terrorist attacks in United States history on US soil is legitimately crude.

Again, I really do love Loveland, please don’t let my message confuse my feelings towards this town. However, “strong” is not ours to use. 


Willie Lutz (@Willie_Lutz) attends Ohio University and is from Loveland, Ohio.

He holds interests in distance running, politics, sports, and culture.

Lutz was a former Intern at Loveland Magazine.



  1. The only problem is people like you that breakdown a phrase and think a word is for one city. In sports strong has been used for years trust me Boston didn’t make this word up. I’ve lived in Loveland for over 40 years and I see nothing wrong in this and I’ll be wearing my Loveland Strong shirt on Saturday!!!!

  2. Boston Strong was based on Livestrong and Army Strong. Other prior examples are Vermont Strong and Jersey Strong, both for hurricanes. (Willie’s article does mention some of these).

    For me, I think the phrase’s heart is in the right place – I feel terrible for the people affected by the fire and am glad to see people coming together. I’m glad it wasn’t a bombing or a hurricane, of course, but it’s hard at this point to pick a different phrase.

  3. Yes anyone or community can use this phrase. Willie, if you are relating this to another event, that is your problem. That is a personal problem, this is not about you. You are selfish. You have never lost everything.

    The victims of this and other instances need strength, family and a community to overcome a disaster, tragedy, and the recovery process in many forms. You have zero idea what a tragedy or loss must feel like, therefore you cannot empathize if that is if you are so attached to a word rather than the meaning or purpose.

    Are you implying we should raise the word “strong” in the disaster hall of fame so that it can be retired and never used again? Where do you establish to draw the line in what is sufficient of a disaster to allow the word to be used?

    Your opinion on this matter is exactly what is without taste or context because you are not the victim.

  4. If memory serves, Loveland cross country had “Loveland Strong” shirts a few years ago …before Boston. My point being is it is not a trademarked saying and no one is relating these separate events. Tragedy comes in many ways whether it is the loss of a single family member or a community attacked.

    Strength comes in overcoming, in achieving, in uniting . No offense taken and kudos to community leaders to raise money for the people impacted by this fire.

  5. I believe the “.. strong” tagline has developed to impute strength on and give strength to the victims of tragedy, in part by creating a communal bond around and to the victims. I know of other instances of its use right here in Cincinnati and I suspect it has been used hundreds of times in lesser and greateer tragedies around the country. I think it can be said that you have association with two cities who express their perseverance in a similar way. You can be proud of their perserverence without demanding equality of tragedy.

  6. I grew up in Boston. I am a substitute teacher for Loveland. Please don’t use Loveland strong. There are many other phrases that you can use. Fire is awful but, the city can be rebuilt. #Bostonstrong was much worse. People died and we’re crippled and their lives have changed forever. #Bostonstrong?

  7. I bet the writer of this piece is real fun at parties. Could it be, perhaps, that this commonality only exists in the mind of someone searching for problems? Or maybe you would prefer that we bust out a thesaurus and look up the word “strong?” And in 200 years from now when all synonyms have been depleted due to additional world tragedies, should we begin to invent new words for strong? Or maybe, just maybe, we could quit looking for problems and focus on encouraging solidarity with and among our community.

  8. Willie, I don’t know that anyone compared the fire to a terrorist attack but you. You are the epitome of the section of today’s society that lives by the credo “good morning America, what are we going to be offended by today?” Why can’t you just be proud of Loveland and their wonderful residents?

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