In all honesty, I really don’t know what to say, yet I feel I must say something…
The bombings happened moments after I left work for the day. I was underground waiting for a train when the first one went off. I knew nothing until my train rose above ground and my phone, along with several others, went crazy with the influx of activity. There is a certain amount of activity that happens on a normal day and then there is the activity when something major happens. As a social media person I can almost sense when it’s something bad before I pull out my phone to check. And when other cellphones were also going berserk, I knew I would not like it.
I have several friends and people I consider family who live if not necessarily in Boston proper, close enough that it gave me pause. Especially on a day like yesterday any where number of them could have been near, if not actively watching the marathon. I immediately checked Twitter and Facebook and had most of my initial worries quickly assuaged that they were safe. Others I had to text or email later on to check on them, but all my not-so-near and dear were accounted for. That left me with just the news and there was a ton of that.
I have been to Boston several times, almost all for party occasions, so my view of the City as a whole is a favorable one. It’s a backdrop to many really good memories for me. I’ve walked along Boylston Street where the explosions occurred, so it was a gut punch the first time I watched footage and recognized it. Broadcast news mostly repeated the same footage of the explosions itself. The internet, as always had them, beat. What struck me most is the one thing that can always be counted on when such events occur. Yes, we expect the police, the emergency service, Fire Departments and other first responders to be there and assist. That is their jobs to run toward the danger when nearly everyone else is running from it, and thank God / God bless them for it.
No, I am referring to The Unintentional Heroes.
The everyday men and women who did not run away, but ran to and stayed to help the hurt and injured until the professionals could take over and sometimes stayed to help again elsewhere afterward. Yes, the images that are going to be the defining ones of this are the images of Carlos Arredondo, the man in the cowboy hat. Like so many others, he immediately jumped into the fray at the site of the first blast to assist. He came upon Mr. Bauman (no first name currently given), who had just lost his legs in the attack. No one, who has seen the instantly iconic photo, is going to quickly forget the image of Arredondo running along side the wheelchair carrying Bauman, pinching a major artery from what remained of Bauman’s leg to keep it from bleeding out as he and two other first responders race to help. Yes, Arredondo’s particular act of heroism should be duly noted as it should and will continue to be.
Still, let it not take anything away from the many acts of heroism, big and small, in the immediate aftermath of the bombings, for every act was truly heroic to the persons being assisted by these John and Jane Q. Publics, many of whom whose names will never be known. All we will ever of them are the various images posted in slide shows from various news sources such as The Huffington Post, The New York Times and of course The Boston Globe.
I guarantee as they all stood celebrating the marathon, did not ask their fellow onlookers about their politics. I guarantee those who ran to help once the bombs went off did not ask the victims about religion. All of it, all of it, is proof positive that we can put all the differences down to celebrate and work together, when it counts.
If only we could hold on to that and make it count everyday, not just special circumstances.
Boston, it’s going to rock you for a bit, we New Yorkers know and understand how that goes. Just remember, the spirit of what made us break ranks and create our own nation over two hundred and thirty years ago still runs through your veins. Trust, you got this.