Three years ago, Phil and I were changed forever as we witnessed a horrific terrorist attack on the city we (at the time) called home. Three years later re-reading this post still gives me a pit in my stomach. So many people's lives changed that day, let's never let them slip from our prayers. Best of luck to all of the runners today, what an incredible accomplishment!
First off, let me start by apologizing for my blogging hiatus. The Boston Marathon bombings hit close to home and took quite a toll on me emotionally. Stepping away, taking a breather and spending time with my family became instantly necessary. As the storefronts of Boylston Street opened their doors this morning I knew it was time for me to come back to Trendbetter and share my experiences with you. None of this is coming from reporters, you don’t need to worry about if what you are reading is true, I was there and this is what I witnessed first hand.
Last Monday morning, April 15th, 2013 was like any other Monday. Yes, it was Patriots Day here in Boston and yes the marathon would shortly be underway but the birds were chirping, people were grabbing breakfast and the weather was pleasant, mid 50’s. My apartment is a few blocks from the marathon finish line and I was looking forward to hearing the announcer out my window as the elite runners rounded the corner of Boylston and headed toward that joyous ribbon after a 26.2 mile sprint. Many Boston residents work from home on Marathon Monday due to road closures and the shut down of multiple public transportation stops. Phil fell into this category and was working diligently as I blogged and watched the marathon from the comfort of my couch.
At around 2:30pm Phil and I decided it was time to make our way towards Boylston Street for the chance to bask in the dedication and inspiration of the thousands of runners approaching the finish line. We bobbed and weaved our way through crowds of people and stopped to cheer and clap as runners smiled ear to ear with the finish line in sight. We stopped, clapped, walked a little, stopped, clapped, walked a little all while approaching out destination, the finish line. I had tears in my eyes as these runners ran past, men and women of all ages, running for charities and lost loved ones. The happiness and sense of accomplishment radiated from every single person, the joy was contagious.
At 2:50 pm Phil and I were ½ a block away, on the same side of the street as the first bomb when it went off. Immediately I thought it was a celebratory cannon, but soon after heard screams that took my mind to perhaps a blown transformer or generator as the explosion seemed to have gone off right where the overhead announcer was. Phil grabbed my hand and said, "we need to get out of here." In that moment in time everyone and everything was frozen. Runners stopped in their tracks and spectators were unaware that as soon as they turned around to go the other direction a second bomb would go off in their faces.
After the second explosion I was paralyzed with fear and the anxiety of not knowing where to go next was over whelming. The barriers between the street and the sidewalk were instantly dismantled and Phil and I made our way onto Boylston Street as to not be trapped on the sidewalk between the two explosions. The streets were covered in blood. There was a runner, a woman who was lying in the street, conscious, covered in ash, missing her leg.
It took the police a matter of minutes to get everyone off of Boylston Street and headed toward their homes. Phil and I hunkered down next to a cement planter in an effort to avoid any more explosions. We met a runner there named Todd, an older man who was concerned about the safety of his wife and family members who were waiting for him at the finish line. Phil offered Todd his phone and unfortunately his call went straight to his wife’s voicemail. We could see the panic in his eyes as the three of us sat there in disbelief. Phil immediately sent a text message to the number Todd had called letting his wife know that Todd was ok and his location. A few minutes later Phil received a response letting us know that she and the family were safe and were on their way to find him. Goosebumps covered my body as I felt such a sense of relief for this man.
It was next to that planter that I saw a mom leave her children sitting on a curb to go help the woman who had lost a leg and was lying in pools of her own blood. I saw an older woman trip as she was trying to get away from the smoke and instead of getting trampled by the terrified crowd was immediately scooped up and carried by a mob of moving people. You all have seen the images on television of the mass amounts of hero’s that saved the lives of so many last Monday.
As the crowds began to clear Phil and I were once again on the move and headed as far away as possible. We crossed through alleyways and side streets as we did our best to stay off of main roads and as far away from trashcans as humanly possible. We held tight to each other, walked in silence and could not wait to get inside.
As hard as it was to be there and witness such a terrible event in our nation’s history I was overwhelmed by how helpful and caring everyone was even in that moment of extreme and utter terror. Although this event proves that there are truly evil people in this world it is so important to remember that the number of good people outweigh the bad by multitudes.
Boston is a tough city and they have proven this past week that there isn’t much they can't recover from. In just one week One Fund Boston raised over $20 million for the families and individuals of those injured in last weeks tragedy. Keep these people in your prayers, as many of the injured were amputees, a life altering injury. Pray for strength and for peace for the people of this city.