When tragic events like the bombings at the Boston Marathon on April 15 occur, oftentimes the media focus too heavily on investigations of whom to blame and speculation about the grim intent behind such acts of violence. Although times like these reveal the worst of humanity, they also show us the best of humanity. There were enough compassionate acts Monday to make Boston proud of its inhabitants. If the bombs were meant to break the bonds of the crowds at the Boston Marathon, they failed miserably.
The pictures of the aftermath of the explosions alone demonstrate the bravery of everyone at the finish line, with runners and spectators running toward the source of the blasts to aid those injured. The Daily Beast reports stories of exhausted runners tearing off pieces of clothing for tourniquets or continuing to run the extra miles to Massachusetts General Hospital to donate blood to the wounded.
The hospital and the Red Cross received enough donations to stop accepting donated blood after just a few hours. Medical staff at the hospitals worked efficiently and tirelessly to aid victims, performing amputations and giving blood transfusions. Police and other emergency response teams were on the scene immediately, bandaging the wounded and carrying them out of harm’s way.
Multiple businesses in the area put out signs and tweeted welcoming messages, including El Pelon Taquería, who tweeted, “Pay only if you can.” Stores and businesses alike opened their doors to displaced runners, families, and spectators, offering phones, Internet
service, and food. The Daily Beast reported that many airlines waived fees for flight alterations of those needing to leave Boston. Southwest Airlines tweeted, offering to accommodate affected travelers with no extra charges. Crowdsourcing sites also collected money for families of victims or runners for airfare and other needs.
Local Bostonians formed forums online to offer accommodations for families and runners stranded in the city, offering couches in homes, spare bedrooms, and even extra space in dorm rooms to sleep. People living in the area brought warm clothes, food, and water to those outside and took many into their homes to use computers or land lines when cell towers were jammed.
Here at Boston College, St. Ignatius Church was opened up to runners for food and shelter, with many students buying food in dining halls to bring to runners, as well as to offer solace. Other students worked with officials to locate missing BC runners, especially the several hundred who ran for the Campus School, so everyone could be accounted for.
Other students who accompanied friends to the finish line helped them back to BC and safety, and all around gave comfort to both runners and those worried about friends and family. It truly was a day that exemplified the strengths of human character, both in the BC community and beyond.
All screenshots by Alison Ricciato/Gavel Media.