By Dane Feldman
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
The Boston Marathon takes place every year on Massachusetts state holiday Patriot’s Day, which “commemorat[es] the opening battles of the American Revolutionary War.” On what is usually a day of celebration in Boston, came, instead, a day of tragedy. At approximately 2:45 p.m. during the 117th Boston Marathon, two bombs exploded seconds apart from one another, on Boylston St. next to the finish line.
As of Wednesday morning, reports state that three victims are dead, 13 have had limbs amputated, and a total of 183 people were hospitalized. According to Dr. Peter Burke at the Boston Medical Center, almost 80 people remain in Boston hospitals while just two of those are still in critical condition.
However, the responses the bombings garnered, in the wake of what President Obama calls an “act of terrorism,” are overwhelmingly positive.
Stephen Colbert says “these maniacs may have tried to make life bad for the people of Boston, but all they can ever do is show just how good those people are” at the intro of The Colbert Report Tuesday night. On The Daily Show Jon Stewart thanks Boston for “inspiring and solidifying [his] belief in humanity and the people of this country” and reminds New Yorkers that the rivalry between Boston and New York resembles that of a “sibling rivalry.” The New York Yankees proved this to be true at Tuesday night’s game when they played Red Sox favorite, Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline”, after the third inning and held a moment of silence for those in Boston. Teams around the MLB did so as well.
Meanwhile, comedian Patton Oswalt received attention and praise after he posted a well-written response on his Facebook page that was later published by a variety of sources. In it, he says “We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil” and finishes his statement by addressing “violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance“ and saying to the purpetrators, “The good outnumber you, and we always will.”
Oswalt points out the fact that, on the day of the marathon, an overwhelming number of people “[ran] towards the destruction” to provide assistance. Among them was Dr. Pierre Rouzier, a physician at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, who was volunteering for the fifth time at the marathon when the bombs exploded. He immediately ran to scene after texting his family “I’m going to where the bomb went off. Say a prayer,” and began helping a young girl. Amidst an adrenaline rush, Rouzier noticed that people around him had responded even faster than he had.
Marathon bystander Carlos Arredondo is no stranger to tragedy. His son was a marine who was killed in Iraq nearly 10 years ago. Arredondo attempted suicide upon receiving the news. He survived. In 2007, he was beaten at an anti-war rally. In 2011, his other son committed suicide. Yet Arredondo made headlines in the wake of this tragedy not because his family fell victim yet again, but because this time he was a hero. An “iconic image” displays Arredondo helping a badly battered victim in a wheelchair as he runs alongside an EMT.
Countless other volunteers joined Dr. Rouzier and Arredondo at the scene, including former New England Patriots guard, Joe Andruzzi. Andruzzi rushed to Boylston St. to help victims after hearing about the bombings. Apparently, heroism and selflessness run in the Andruzzi family as three of his brothers, firemen in New York, were among the responders in the aftermath of the attacks on September 11, 2001.
While Andruzzi, Rouzier and Arredondo were among those aiding victims at the scene, runners reportedly “dash[ed] straight from the finish line to hospitals in order to give [blood].”
In the days following the Boston Marathon, positive responses have not dwindled.
Tuesday night, GrubHub collaborated with Boston’s Anytime Pizza to donate food to emergency workers. Anytime Pizza received so many orders for donation that they had to shut down operations just an hour after it was originally posted to GrubHub’s Facebook page. Cappy’s Pizza and Sub Boston took over to continue feeding emergency workers.
Students at Boston College started a Facebook event asking people to walk the five miles from campus to Boston to show their support. The event has been postponed after initially receiving 17,000 RSVPs due to the “issues a large crowd could cause for the Boston Police Department.”
In the wake of such an event, speculation as to the who, what, where, when, and why are inevitable and can quickly slide into conspiracy. That is why entrepreneur Jaimie Meuhlhausen bought the domain name, www.bostonconspiracytheory.com, as to “thwart others from seizing it” and to help focus efforts on those in need.
The beautiful responses to events that took place at the Boston Marathon have not gone unnoticed around the globe, either. One paper in Germany writes “Hysteria is the triumph of terror, but America has responded remarkably unhysterically to the bombs in Boston.”
Meanwhile on Buzzfeed, a series of black and white photographs have gone viral depicting natives of Kabul, Afghanistan holding a poster that reads, “To Boston From Kabul With Love.”
The Boston community is a microcosm that represents a matured and resilient nation that the United States has transformed into in the wake of 9/11 and recent national tragedies. What happened Monday is just a reminder of how far we have come.