Sadness, anger, confusion, fear…this are all words that could describe how many Americans around the country are feeling after horrific bombing that took place during the Boston Marathon on Monday. Reminded once more that we are not immune to the evil of this world, Americans have been walking around this week with an unsettling feeling most haven't felt for 11 years.
I moved to New York about a year and a half ago from a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. Being in a city like New York when something like this is happening in the country is a unique experience. As one would imagine, the general tone of the city shifted on Monday afternoon. Maybe it's just me, but the city seems quieter…uneasily calm. And while no one is walking around in fear, as you walk around the city and pass by strangers, everyone looks as if they have something lingering in the back of their mind.
But, through all of the uneasiness, anger, & fear, the memories of Monday's attack won't be based on the worry, the fear, the increased security all over the city, or ever the search for the terrorist — it will be of the heroes. The first responders, both professional and civilian, who ran towards the blast when most ran away.
People like Carlos Arredondo, cowboy-hat wearing peace activist and father of a fallen soldier. He was at the race handing out American flags to spectators before the bomb exploded. Once terror struck, he rushed to help National Guard troops, police officers and firefighters wrestle down a fence that was blocking emergency medical personnel get to the victims. He's also photographed rushing a young man with sever leg wounds to help.
"I just concentrated on that young man," Arredondo explained. "And tied him up — his legs — and talked to him. He was conscious. I let him know the ambulance was on the way and that it's okay."
Medical personnel, like Dr. Vivek Shah, was waiting at the finish to aid exhausted runners.
Dr. Shah told CNN ""My whole family was on that side where the explosions had gone off, so I started running towards where the bombs had gone off to check on my family and see if there was anything I could do to help."
Thanks to him and other medical professionals, 15 patients were at Brigham and Women's Hospital within 15 minutes of the blast. The quick action and mere presence of these individuals likely saved a countless number of the wounded.
Former New England Patriots lineman Joe Andruzzi was already known for helping children with cancer and their families pay for treatment through his foundation. Monday at the marathon he was there with a team of runners participating to raise money for more cancer patients. Andruzzi, whose brothers were both NYC firefighters during 9/11, jumped into action carrying the wounded away from the bomb site to safety.
In a statement on Monday, Andruzzi said, "While I appreciate the interest in hearing our perspective on today's horrific events, the spotlight should remain firmly on the countless individuals -- first responders, medics, EMTs, runners who crossed the finish line and kept on running straight to give blood, and the countless civilians who did whatever they could to save lives," he said in a statement Monday. "They were the true heroes. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by this senseless tragedy."
And to Andruzzi's point, the unmatched heroism of the first responders on the scene will remain in the minds of the people of Boston and Americans who watch in horror as the events unfolded on Monday.
Heroes in Boston twitter.com/BGlobeSports/s…”— Buster Heine (@bst3r) April 15, 2013
First responders (Photo: Kylie Atwood/CBS News) twitter.com/pourmecoffee/s…— pourmecoffee (@pourmecoffee) April 15, 2013
First responders (Phot: Charles Krupa/AP) twitter.com/pourmecoffee/s…— pourmecoffee (@pourmecoffee) April 15, 2013
After Monday's terror attack, these words were spoken by Suffolk County, Massachusetts, District Attorney Dan Conley, "Moments like these, terrible as they are, don't show our weakness; they show our strength."