The Boston Marathon is to Boston what Fat Tuesday is to New Orleans—a day off, a day of celebration. The city celebrates life on this day, which is observed on Patriots’ Day, a civic holiday commemorating the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775. The Red Sox schedule their game so as not to interfere with the oldest marathon event in the United States. The first Boston Marathon was run in 1897. It has been an annual event since, and one without incident until April 15, 2013 when the marathon was subjected to terrorist bombs, timed to go off when the majority of runners were finishing the race.
Two explosions, which killed three and wounded dozens, went off within seconds of each other. They were timed so as to inflict maximum harm to the local community, because the professionals had crossed hours earlier. The runners who were crossing the finish line at 3 pm were local athletes—amateurs, running enthusiasts. The people waiting at the finish line for them were also locals—loved ones and friends.
But the terrorists have missed the mark totally. Even before the smoke had cleared, scores rushed forward towards the smoke and carnage to help, to give comfort, and save. Had spectators run the other way the death toll could have been higher, and the terrorist would have hit the mark. But Bostonians and visitors alike denied fearmongers what they sought—the loosening of ties that bind us together as Americans. We ran toward the sound of the guns.
People used their belts, shirts, and even cooking aprons as ad hoc tourniquets for severed or torn limbs. This first aid was applied in time to make a difference, and it allowed first responders on the scene to provide more thorough care and get the injured to the hospital, which saved lives. The evil perpetrated in Boston elicited a reaction that should give all of us hope. Despite our differences we still act as one people, and despite the danger Americans rushed into the breach, and kept the faith.