A blog by ordinary people about living an extraordinary life
Today marks one week since the horrific Boston Marathon bombings. This past week was one of the toughest weeks many Bostonians, and Americans, have been through in recent history. A roller coaster of emotions that was ridden all week, from the joy and anticipation of Patriot’s Day to being reduced to tears on more than one occasion. I was deeply touched by the outpouring of texts, emails, Facebook messages from friends around the world checking in to see if me, my family, and my friends were OK. In this post I wanted to share some of my thoughts about the week, and my hopes that this week continues to bring us all together to help one another as we all try to heal.
Patriot’s Day Monday started out as any other Patriot’s Day here in Boston. I was heading into the office for a few hours, then joining some friends at the Red Sox game, a Patriot’s Day tradition of an 11AM baseball game. The Boston Marathon was set to start out in Hopkinton. 26.2 miles later, runners would be coming through the streets of Boston as the Red Sox game was letting out, filling the streets with cheering fans. The city was set for its annual Marathon Party!
I decided to walk over to Fenway Park from my office at Mass General Hospital, a picturesque walk down Beacon Street. The sun was beginning to warm up the cool morning air. When I reached our meeting spot outside of the Eastern Standard restaurant, I was fortunate enough to be there to cheer on some of the top wheelchair race finishers. Wearing my Run to Home Base baseball cap, I met a young man who works for the Home Base Program. We shook hands, shared a few words of respect for our work with the program, and he was off Fenway while I waited for my friends.
As my friends and I made our way into the Park, the day could not have been any better. Our seats were great. The Red Sox have been playing really well, and the crowd really seemed ready for this showdown with the Tampa Bay Rays. The marathon finishers were flashed up on the scoreboard. The game was rather uneventful, but it resulted in a Red Sox win, so everyone was leaving the Park happy.
We decided to walk back to Mass General and North Station to grab trains home. Since the runners were beginning to finish en mass, we skirted around the growing crowds by cutting through the Prudential Center Mall. When we came out of the mall, the day took a turn that was far from ordinary.
We heard a very loud low rumble, and the 4 of all stopped and looked at each other and looked around. What the heck was that? It did not sound like any sound we had heard in the city. It had to have been some sort of explosion, but what? A few seconds later we heard another explosion. And then the sound of sirens filled the air. Something was happening in our city and we had no idea what it was. I immediately went to Twitter to see if anything was out there. Seems there were 2 explosions near the finish of the marathon. No one really knew what was going on. Tweets of glass, and blood, and explosions were coming in. We called our wives to see if they had any news. Nothing much was known.
When we got to the Boston Common I finally had found information that 2 explosions had gone off by the finish line, and that many people were injured, some gravely. Ambulances from across the city were enroute, and victims were being taken to one of seven Boston hospitals, including Mass General. Because no one knew what else might be happening, I decided to go back to my office, make sure everyone there was aware that this was happening, and make sure people knew to get home and stay safe.
What happened the rest of the week is much more documented across the news than I could ever do justice.
Tuesday morning I headed to the MGH Blood Donor Center with my friend John to donate blood. We were due to give blood this week, but Tuesday morning just seemed like the right time to donate. We arrived at the Donor Center about 8AM and found a line of about a dozen more people ahead of us. This was the first time we ever had to wait to donate. After signing in and having our vitals taken, I was seated to have blood draw. The man next to me was there donating for the first time, I am sure there were many more generous people like him around Boston that morning. More than 140 people ended up donating at the MGH Blood Donor Center that day, with dozens more signed up to donate throughout the week.
I will tell you that when the Boston Bruins ran a ceremony to honor the 3 fallen victims of the attack as well as the nearly 200 victims, before their Wednesday night game at the TD Garden, I found myself crying, unable to fight back the tears and flood of emotions I had carried around the past 48 hours. Even yesterday when the Red Sox had a similar pre-game ceremony before their first game at Fenway since the attack, I had tears in my eyes.
The 2 suspects are no longer on the loose. One has been captured and the other is dead. Obviously questions remain. Families that were directly impacted by these attacks are in need of all our help and support as they try to get their lives back to a state of normalcy.
This past week showed a city and a nation coming together. Boston Strong became a rallying cry for our resilient city. I hope that it is a motto that remains with all of us. I hope that we continue to reach out and help those that need us during these extremely trying times. I hope that we continue to set aside our differences and work to mend the wounds that ripped apart that Patriot’s Day. Continue to give thanks to the first responders, police, firemen, medical personel, and civilian volunteers who were there to save lives and continue to save lives every day. Continue to donate: donate funds if you can, donate blood when you can, donate your time to help many worthy causes that bring people closer together.
People are already promising to run the Boston Marathon next year in yet another sign that actions like these will not make us run and hide but rather solidify our resolve and make us stronger.