Last month, Mayor Marty Walsh declared that today, April 15, would be known as One Boston Day, “a celebration of the resiliency, generosity, and strength of the people that make Boston the great city it is,” marking the anniversary of the bombings at the Boston Marathon finish line in 2013. On this second anniversary of the tragic terrorist attack that stole lives, wounded bodies and left our city reeling, our community will prove its respect and goodwill by organizing charitable events and observing a moment of silence at 2:49 PM in honor of the victims and survivors.
There is no denying the importance of the Marathon and the impact of the tragedy 2 years ago on our community, and each of us has a story to tell. In honor of this day, we here at The Rock are taking some time to reflect on what it means to all of us.
“I was driving home from school on April 15, 2013 when I got a news alert on my phone reporting the explosions at the finish line. I turned on the news as soon as I got home to see the infamous video of the first explosion followed by smoke, billowing flags, screaming, and a dreaded second blast down the street signaling that this was an act of terror. It was heartbreaking, but I was struck with how many Bostonians ran toward the explosion sites to help and comfort the wounded and dying. Last night I was at Robsham to hear the panel of survivors who are also BC alumni reflect on their experiences from that day. They all spoke of how horrible that day was, but they also emphasized how much good came out of the experience. The way the city of Boston rallied together in the wake of tragedy and what it meant to be ‘Boston Strong’ were what initially attracted me to Boston during my college search. Watching the Red Sox mark the one-year anniversary on television the day after committing to BC gave me so much pride to soon be a part of this city. I cannot wait for my first Marathon Monday at Mile 21, and I am looking forward to many more in the future.” – Edward Byrne ‘18
“On Monday, April 15, 2013, I was blissfully unaware of the world around me. The first day of my April vacation junior year, I woke up in a haze to the running of the Boston Marathon, and later, still not entirely aware of what was going on around me, lives were lost in a bombing that altered the city’s landscape forever. My city. The city that I lived within an hour of, the city that I had been born in, the city that had shaped the person I have become. Boston is a larger part of me than anything else will ever be. The following week was incredibly frightening and unsettling; bringing the city closer than I could have ever imagined, but instilling fear and spreading blame as the hours passed. When they were caught, I cried, in a time when that was a rarity, even for me. I had never felt as connected to the people around me than I did that day. Unlike others who have come to Boston since that day, and have grown to love the grace with which we stick together, I have been a Bostonian from day one, something I hope to never give up. Every time I enter the city lines, I thank God for the opportunity to live in such a city – the opportunity that was taken, or almost taken, from so many others. I look back with reverence on a day that changed my life, my world, and my perspective forever. But more than that, I look back with pride that is too substantial to be confined in the words on this page.” – Kate Chaney ’18
“I am already a news junkie, but I saw this on 7News around 3:00, and felt like something was odd and eerie. At first, the news anchor just said there was a “disturbance” related to a bomb going off near the finish line, but they were cryptic at first. I could tell people in the newsroom were aghast at what was happening, and that they were worried for people out there on Boylston. People think that Boston is a safe place, and compared to most places, it generally is, but apparently these brothers wanted to make a statement and disturb people. I also remember visiting a lot of colleges that week, and on my ride home from UMass, when my dad and I were glued to the radio (every station from WEEI to NPR was covering the wild goose chase in Watertown, not too far from the residence of one of my dear relative’s), we heard that the police finally found him near a boat in a backyard. Later that day, as my friend and I were walking around our hometown, I saw some kids from the high school blasting down the street in a Volvo convertible with a giant American flag, with football paint on their faces, screaming, ‘America!!!’ and other phrases. While I was happy that they found one of the brothers, I thought their chanting and hollering was a little grotesque. I have mixed feelings about it. I believe in fairness, and I think it would be a wise decision to put Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in life in prison instead of killing him.” – Kyle Donohue ‘17
“I remember where I was when the news hit campus; I remember the silence, immediate and almost more frightening than noise; I remember the manhunt, the yellow and blue, seeing friends who were at the finish line for the carnage. I also remember seeing my two best friends run in 2014 in the Campus School Bandit Marathon; I remember ‘Boston Strong’ and sunburn lines; I remember the peace of laying in the grass outside Bapst when the marathon had passed BC safely by. The marathon has made for me some of my favorite BC memories, from so good to so very ugly. In the final analysis, maybe I’m lucky that my first Boston Marathon experience was marked by the terrorist bombings of 2013–because I will never see the marathon as anything but community, perseverance, resilience and love on the grandest scale.” – Melissa Warten ‘16
“The Boston Marathon is one of the most popular marathons; the people make all of the difference. I was more excited being in the crowd for the Boston Marathon than while a different marathon. Is there a better feeling in the world than seeing the runners break the peak of Heartbreak Hill and run the last five miles to the finish? Probably, but everyone knows what it means just by looking at the runners’ faces. While the experience of my first Boston Marathon was marred by the bombing, the response by the people was even better. There is no worse target for violence than marathon runners, all of the qualities needed to run 26.2 consecutive miles without stopping are the qualities that help build compassion. It’s evident in the stories of runners who crossed the finish line but kept running to the nearby hospital to donate blood and assist in any way possible. In what will be the third Boston Marathon I’ve attended, the excitement is already palpable. On Monday we are all marathon runners, and all marathon runners live for Boston.” – Jake Maestas ‘16
“As a Boston native, the marathon is like a current that runs through my life. I can’t get from my house in West Newton to BC (or really anywhere for that matter) without taking a ride on at least part of the route. As a kid, I’d go and watch at the firehouse with my family; at BC, I’ve reveled in the proud tradition of cheering on runners from Mile 21. I’ll never forget what it was like standing out on Comm Ave my sophomore year, getting the news of the bombings, fearing for the safety of my roommates who were running and for my fellow Bostonians. That week stands out to me as a whirlwind of terror, confusion, but ultimately celebration and strength–what Patriot’s Day is really all about. This year is my last Marathon Monday as a BC student, which is sad, but I know that third Monday in April will always be a special day in my heart. It really is the greatest day of the year.” – Kate Lewis ‘15