What started as an annual celebration quickly turned into a day that will forever be lamented in our country. The bombings that occurred at the Boston Marathon last Monday are no doubt tragic and horrific. No one expected the bombings, especially the runners caught completely off-guard as they ran across the finish line. However, the heroic and brave acts following the bombings demonstrate the power of compassion that often take place in such sudden emergency situations.
Here are some of the most heartwarming examples of first responders in the Boston Marathon tragedy:
● There are reports of spectators who were first responders after the initial explosion. For example, 53-year-old Carlos Arredondo vaulted a barricade and ran straight into the cloud after the explosion to help. Arredondo grabbed torn pieces of someone’s sweater to stop the intense bleeding from a man’s leg. “I told him, ‘My name’s Carlos, you’re going to be OK, help is on the way,” said Arredondo to The Daily Beast online.
● Businesses in the surrounding area opened their doors for respite from the hectic and crowded streets, and offered free refreshments and WiFi. One such business, a small Mexican restaurant named “El Pelon Taquería,” tweeted “Pay only if you can” and welcomed frazzled residents and runners alike.
● After the explosions, kindness was in the air as local Bostonians stepped up to help in the aftermath of the tragedy. Ramsey Mohsen, a spectator at the marathon, posted a photo to Instagram of a Boston local offering people orange juice and a bathroom to use after the bombs went off.
● Social media was largely used to reach out and advertise help. The hashtag #BostonHelp started trending shortly after the attacks, with people using it to tweet anything they could offer in assistance to stranded families.
● In addition to Twitter, Google Docs was utilized to advertise housing, transportation, and meals. Those who had something to offer would post their email and phone number as well as a description of what they had to give. Over 6,000 people signed up on the Google Doc offering free housing, meals, showers, etc.
● Multiple runners, after completing the 26 miles, continued straight past the finish line to Mass General Hospital to give blood to victims.
● Afghan veteran Tyler Dodd helped console 20-year-old Northeastern University student Victoria McGrath. Dodd showed McGrath his battle wounds from the war as she being treated for her own injuries in the medical tent. Dodd told International Business Times: “I tried to keep as calm as I could and to keep her as calm. And I drew my strength from her strength.”
● Even cities hundreds of miles away showed support. The classic rivalry between NYC and Boston was put aside, as New York demonstrated her compassion for Boston, most notably by playing “Sweet Caroline” at Yankee Stadium, a classic and signature song of Fenway Park.
● Melissa Bourgoine, a graduate student at Suffolk University, used social media to organize a “Boston Spirit Day” for April 19. She created a Facebook event and made the hashtag “BostonSpiritDay” to encourage people all over Boston-and beyond-to wear clothing that is Boston-related.
● Former NFL offensive lineman Joe Andruzzi, who was stationed near the finish line, carried an injured woman to safety right after the initial bombing. The photo below received a great deal of attention, but Andruzzi released this humble statement confirming he did not believe he should have gotten all the attention he did: “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. They were the true heroes. Our thoughts prayers go out to all those affected by this senseless tragedy.”
Though the city was shell-shocked, the acts of kindness and comfort that took place show the compassion that brings people together in times of fear and uncertainty. Bostonians and visitors alike reached out to provide food, shelter, and comfort to those that needed it in an attempt to alleviate the suffering and horror. As comedian Patton Oswalt’s now famous Facebook post said, “…When you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, ‘The good outnumber you, and we always will.'”