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For the people of Boston, it was supposed to be a day for a great city-wide party.
Monday was Patriot Day, in Massachusetts, the day each year that The Boston Marathon takes place. The Marathon is a city-wide event that defies description. Far more than the premier running event in the United States…it’s a massive volunteer effort and an event that brings out tens of thousands to watch, support, and party.
Like every other year, that’s what it was going to be….until 2:50 pm EDT.
Suddenly, two explosions, one after the other, took place . Two young men, with political agenda that are not clear as of
this writing took the lives of three people with IEDs, and injured 180 plus, with many of those suffering injuries that will forever change their lives.
But what I want to talk about is what happened next.
Everyday Bostonians, with little or no thought about their own personal safety, rushed in to help. Fences were ripped down with bare hands to get at victims. Belts became tourniquets. Shirts were ripped off bodies to try to pack wounds. Runners who were medical professionals rushed to Boston Marathon medical tents designed to deal with dehydration and cramps; and turned them instead into disaster triage tents
52-year-old Carlos Arrendondo, known now by many as “the man with the cowboy hat”, had suffered the losses of two of his sons, one in Iraq in 2004, the other son committing suicide as the result of his brother’s death. He was at the race as part of his healing process, as part of a group giving out flags to runners at the Marathon finish line.
When the explosions happened, instead of doing what many would do, he ran toward the insanity…to help. Many around the world have seen the picture of him helping to save the life of a young man lying on the sidewalk, missing both of his legs.
When interviewed, Arrendondo said “I went to the ground to comfort him and let him know that he’s okay, the ambulance is on the way. To stay still, don’t move. And I ended up picking him up from the ground to put him in a wheelchair that just arrived.
Arrendondo claims he wasn’t a hero. “I wasn’t doing anything different from the other first responders who arrive at the scene,” he said.
The fact is, Mr. Arrendondo…all of you were heroes that day.
You are what I choose to remember from that day. People like you. People like me. Everyday people. People like the marathon runners, who had just run 26 miles…were exhausted, and without a moment’s hesitation, ran to nearby hospitals
to give blood and render assistance People on the street…just ordinary people who did something extraordinary.
This week, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Menino announced the formation of The One Fund Boston, to raise money to help those families most affected by the Boston Marathon bombings.
“…The One Fund Boston will act as a central fund to receive much needed financial support,” Governor Patrick said. ”
A number of major companies in the Boston area have donated large sums to the Fund, but given the horrific injuries suffered by many at the scene of the bombings, the medical and other costs, much more will be needed to help these victims.