The Times West Virginian

April 17, 2013

Americans show strength working through terrible moments

Times West Virginian

— Crude — but deadly.

That’s how the bombs that went off near the finish line of Monday’s Boston Marathon were being described the day after terrorism struck at an American institution that dates back to 1897.

The Associated Press reported: “The bombs that ripped through the crowd at the Boston Marathon, killing three people and wounding more than 170, were fashioned out of pressure cookers and packed with metal shards, nails and ball bearings to inflict maximum carnage, a person briefed on the investigation said Tuesday.”

Meanwhile, stories of heroism surfaced — from first-responders, doctors, service members and the general public — who did all they could to help those in need, including people who suffered horrible injuries that included the loss of limbs.

“We started grabbing tourniquets and started tying legs. A lot of people amputated,” said Roupen Bastajian, a state trooper from Smithfield, R.I., who had just finished the race when the explosions occurred.

”That’s what Americans do in times of crisis,” Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley, a Boston mayoral candidate, was quoted by ABC News. “We come together and we help one another. Moments like these, terrible as they are, don’t show our weakness; they show our strength.”

President Barack Obama said that the bombings were an act of terrorism but that “the American people refuse to be terrorized.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, no arrests had been made, and no one had claimed responsibility for the bombings.

“We will go to the ends of the Earth to identify the subject or subjects who are responsible for this despicable crime, and we will do everything we can to bring them to justice,” said Richard DesLauriers, FBI agent in charge in Boston.

Boston sports writer Jimmy Golen, who was covering his 18th Boston Marathon when he heard the bombs go off, wrote about the magnitude of the annual race:

“People outside Boston, people who aren’t runners, are likely to think of the Boston Marathon as a sporting event, but it is really at least four different events at once.

“There is the elite athlete race, the one shown on television that usually ends with a Kenyan handed a silver trophy and crowned by an olive wreath. There are the recreational runners who train for years to make the qualifying time, then spend another year preparing for the hilly trip from Hopkinton to Boston’s Back Bay. There are the runners who get into the race by promising to raise money for charity — a tradition that has collected more than $128 million over the past 25 years.

“And then there is the 26.2-mile parade in which hundreds of thousands line the course on Patriots Day, when schools and many businesses are closed for the day.”

Americans won’t allow events such as the Boston Marathon be ruined.

Security — from the White House to public gatherings — was obviously stepped up amid all the uncertainly in the wake of the bombings in Boston. Vigilance, not doubt, is critical.

At the same time, Americans have shown time and again that they’re in no mood to let terrorists — large organizations or individuals, foreign or domestic — eliminate their enjoyment of life.

In Huntington, for example, a group is already organizing a run to honor the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.

Huntington Road Runners secretary Ricky Campbell said the 2.62-mile run will be held at 8 p.m. Tuesday starting at the Marshall University Memorial Fountain. Candles will be lit before the start of the run.

That’s the spirit we applaud following Monday's tragedy.