Marathon Monday morning I found myself at the start of the 117th Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, MA on April 15, 2013.
I was there for work, and I got up around 5:00 a.m. to make sure I was in the town by about 6 in the morning. I probably drove around the center of town about three times, desperately scouring the area for parking and staying out of the way of pedestrians and several police officers there.
A lot of the streets in the suburban neighborhood had “No Parking” signs, which is why I found myself about a half mile away from the town common within the confines of a residential culdesac (dead-end street). Not even sure if it was legal to park there I figuratively crossed my fingers and began the trek to the center of town in the 30-degrees weather with my backpack on my back and aviators shielding my eyes from the bright morning’s sun.
I felt like a creepuh. As I walked through the residential neighborhood I couldn’t help feeling really sketchy. Once I got onto the main street, though, there were other people walking down the sidewalk toward or away from the town so I felt less weird.
Still, I was really surprised that no one checked my bag. The police presence was HUGE at the start of the race, officers and dogs could be seen milling around everywhere you looked. There was a bomb squad and other groups of law personnel about, as well as other officers no doubt as my untrained civilian eye probably couldn’t perceive snipers or whoever else might be protecting the area.
I acquired a VIP pass through my job which basically meant I could head over to the start of the marathon at any point, get some shots with my new camera, and take a seat on the bleachers in a roped off area.
Again, no one approached me to double-check the validity of my pass. No one checked my bag as I walked over to the Start Area. I actually accidentally found myself in an extra special VIP section (whoops) and realized this after standing there for 2 minutes surveying the area. No one told me to leave, but upon realizing my mistake I went over to the appropriate VIP section I should have been in.
Finally settling into the correct spot, I took my camera out of my bag and took several pictures. I was only a mere few feet away from the elite runners on the road and I involuntarily shivered thinking about the damage an evil-doer could have done had they been standing where I was – unchecked.
It was scary that my mind went through that thought process. The entire day felt off for me, it was unnerving, but I blamed it on my seasonal allergies acting up.
So easily we brush things off, sometimes, without even realizing it.
I left that area around 1 in the afternoon and after considering heading into Boston to catch the tail-end of the race I decided to pass as I wasn’t feeling that great.
My mom was the first one to let me know about the bombings that occurred at the end of the Marathon, close to 3 pm that afternoon. I immediately turned on the news and was fixated with disbelief. Those streets and buildings I know so well, I walk them all the time, and now they were being splattered with the blood of innocent people.
It was horrifying to behold such a horrific sight in an area I know and love so well. It was too real. What was also too real were my mixed feelings at the start of the race, my unease about security.
The news is looking for scapegoats, and so are a lot of U.S. citizens. A lot of people have been glued to the TV the past few days, desperate to know what’s going on.
We’re told we’ll know what happened in due time. Through due process of law justice will be served. In the coming days patience seems to be the only constant.
I think it’s important to look forward and not be so complacent. Be aware of your surroundings and be vigilant, but do not live in fear. After tragedies such as the bombings in Boston we are reminded of our humanity and most importantly the kindness strangers can bestow upon one another especially in times of need.
We are reminded of the strength of Boston. The first responders, including your average citizens who volunteer to help in times of trouble. Everyone who reached out their hands to support one another.
If you are able to, please considering making even a small donation to support Boston through the One Fund. Keep Boston strong!