I lived in NJ for a summer during college...and when my brother and friends came into town, my Uncle and I took them into tourist sights; Central Park, Empire State Building and the World Trade Center. I had friends who came through World Trade Station for work, others who had meetings in the building...so 9/11/01 was personal for me. It made me sad...it still pisses me off.
Yesterday afternoon a terrorist struck Boston, MA...and in spite of three people being killed, it was a glancing blow, of sorts. It could have been much worse.
The crowds around the marathon are large and tight. If you're like me, it's tough to see anyone pass on the route unless you're in the front row. Short guys and women need to move around to see the street as rows of people are shoulder to shoulder, especially near the start/finish line.
Like the NY area, I also lived near Boston for a few years, after I graduated from Purdue. At the time, I worked at Puma...and we had athletes who ran in the marathon professionally...as well as co-workers who ran in it. Patriots Day is a big deal in Boston (if you aren't from around there, you might not know) and the Boston Marathon is the center of many of the activities celebrating our country and the Patriots that helped make it great.
Much like the attacks on 9/11, this one felt personal because it was directed at so many of the people I know. Thank God- as of right now, I have not heard from any friends that someone I know is among the injured or deceased...that in itself is a massive blessing, or tremendous luck, depending on your perspective and faith.
Back in '98 or '99 (can't remember the year), I met some co-workers in Boston to try to get a glimpse of a few of our co-workers as they ran by on the marathon route. Unlike yesterday, it was a cold, rainy day...but that didn't stop people from coming out for the event. I can imagine the crowds were even larger yesterday afternoon as the weather was nicer.
The scope of this attack was obviously significantly smaller and less-organized than 9/11 or many of the attacks internationally in the decade that followed...none the less, it was a monstrous, yet cowardly act that showed the evil underbelly of mankind. But when evil attacks America, goodness, resolve and courage always show up in its chaotic wake.
You've all seen the videos- the smoke hadn't come close to clearing...and people were rushing into the center of the blast and fire...not just brave police men and women...but normal people.
As I watched the news this morning, a doctor named Allan Panter from Georgia recalled the story of how he attempted to help people who were cut down by the bomb. The first explosion detonated about 20 feet from him. He was awaiting his wife's completion of the race...he was uninjured...but a woman close by him, feet away was killed.
Once again, my belief is God placed Dr. Panter exactly in the spot he was...because he wasn't one foot to the left or right, he was able to save lives by coordinating a civilian effort to get people to the medical tent while applying tourniquets to multiple legs that had been blown off in the explosion. The shots from above tell the story of how gruesome of a scene Dr. Panter was in the midst of. Blood is still all over the pavement this morning and many more might have died had this doctor and a bunch of other people not acted quickly.
The best part of the doctor's interview, in my opinion, was the humble nature in which he handled himself and the story. He kept placing the credit in the laps of the police and emergency teams...Yet, when you see the raw footage, civilians were pulling twisted metal off of victims and coming to their aid first. Just as New Yorkers responded nearly 12 years ago, Bostonians...and Georgians, for that matter, countered the attack by stopping the loss of life in any way possible.
Thank God, once again, that the man or people, that attacked Boston yesterday didn't know what they were doing...early police reports say that the bombs didn't fully detonate and didn't detonate in the direction that could have dealt the most-lethal blow. There's no doubt that a single life (let alone three or more) lost is something that we as a nation will mourn, but the stories that are coming out of yesterday's response to the attack are to be celebrated and commended.
On one hand, I read about a woman who could see the finish line, yet stopped to help the recovery effort...and never finished the race that she had trained for during the previous months/years. On the other hand, there is the story of the 78 year old runner who was knocked down just feet from the finish line by the explosion who was tended to immediately by Police. Bill Iffrig, from Lake Stevens, Washington not only got up, he finished the race.
Today, my pal J has a work meeting at 7 World Trade...and he expressed a bit of nervousness about the timing/location. But, as I type, I believe he is at his morning meeting...doing what he does; just like the rest of the country.
God Bless America and the freedom-loving, right-minded, and big-hearted people within it who show time and again, what this country is made. These people are the reason why we should celebrate all that we're blessed to be a part of. Like you I'm sure, I'm praying today for the victims and families of the victims of yesterday's attack...And I'm reminded why I'm proud to be an American.