Marathon Monday is a rite of passage as a Boston resident, either as a spectator or a competitor. As a student at Boston College, every year the Marathon was an emotional high — to watch runners make it through Heartbreak Hill and overcome huge physical and personal challenges — not to mention, a great excuse to party. This year, my entire family was in Boston. My son was at the Red Sox game, and me and the girls were on our way to cheer on our friend near the finish line.
We timed our friend to finish between 3:00-3:30 p.m., and found ourselves at the corner of Dartmouth and Beacon Streets right around 2:50 p.m. Stopped at a red light, everything seemed normal, with a bit of that Marathon energy in the air. However, within minutes, we witnessed mass hysteria. Crowds of people running north on Dartmouth St. away from the finish line towards the Charles River. Distraught faces and people rushing into the streets with total disregard for cars and traffic. I asked someone what was going on?! Why was everyone running? and was told that two explosions had just occurred at the finish line.
I continued up Beacon Street in my car, with my girls asking all sorts of questions in the back seat. Why can’t we go to the playground? What did that man mean by explosions? As I approached Kenmore Square, I tried to get on the phone to get a hold of the group at Fenway, and tell them to jump into my car, but the phone lines were dead. And at that point, all of the memories of 9/11 came flooding back, when we sat in our living room in Boston trying to call all of our friends and loved ones in New York City.
Sirens blaring. State police. Ambulances. Road blocks. The city responded within minutes, and as I made my way to Storrow Drive to get out of the city and back home, my mind was racing. The texts started coming through. One friend crossed the finish line minutes before the bombs went off. Another friend was okay but unable to finish the race. Our good friend, whose office is located at 745 Boylston Street, was fortunately traveling and out-of-town that day.
We were close enough to feel the terror, but far enough not to have witnessed the horror. Today we pray for the victims and their families, and are grateful for the volunteers and medical personnel that courageously stepped into the midst of this great tragedy to help.