The definitive moment came at the Bruins game when the crowd took away the National Anthem from the singer and roared it themselves. Several years ago I told my excellent editor in Washington, a fierce hockey fan, that we would win the Stanley Cup series against Vancouver against all odds because Vancouver in the third game had injured one of us. 

“We are bad people,” I said. “We are angry and unresolved.” And we will not be injured. We won 8 to nothing and went on to win the Cup. And that heart of Boston was experienced again at the Bruins game the other night. 

After 9/11, Americans, and liberals in particular, were not ready to defend themselves. They chose former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, a nice man and a good man, but not the man to lead in a crisis like that. It was not a time to laugh; it was a time to kill. 

Gen. Wesley Clark was ready to lead but made no progress this side of Dixville Notch, last stop of Northern Yankee land. It was transference and it echoed through Boston politics in so many other ways, even until the Boston Marathon. We are getting ready now. We are almost there. And when we are there, we will turn to Wesley Clark and a few others (former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, for example) — and David Petraeus.

Historic periods generally end with a general: Nelson, Washington, Grant, Eisenhower. From there the country returns to life. It is a manifestation of belief and confidence in being ready to do what needs to be done legally, constitutionally. But in life-threatening situations — those that threaten the soul as well — it is to do what is needed to survive. 

Patrick is shown to have courage and balance and the drive to do what needs to be done. He can be America’s man.