In the aftermath of the bombing of the Boston Marathon, we have watched videos of the attack, seen the ground shake from the explosions, seen the fear in people’s eyes as they collapse to the ground, ducking for safety, and we have heard the the shrills of police cars and fire trucks as they have arrived on scene. But one of West Linn’s own, superintendent Bill Rhoades, experienced it first hand.
“When the explosions occurred in Boston I was several minutes beyond the finish line, generally in the area where runners receive space blankets to keep from getting cold as they make their way to areas or buses where there clothes are located.
“A friend was in the grandstands and he met me just beyond the finish line. We took some pictures and talked a bit about the race. We clearly heard the explosions a few minutes later. The smoke from the first explosion was clearly visible to us, but we only heard the second.”
Confusion and concern throughout the crowd about what had just happened was apparent.
“I moved through a crowd that included those celebrating their marathon finish and those who were clearly concerned and upset. When I got to the hotel the details of what had happened were shared with me,” Rhoades said. “At a point we were asked not to leave and the hotel was placed under very high security-in essence it was in locked down.”
Many people immediately tried contacting their families and loved ones, while the chaos around them continued. Within minutes of the bombing, police and ambulances arrived on the scene searching for those who had been injured and helping to navigate people away from the scene to a safer place.
“I came home on Tuesday night after making some traditional visits to the State House, Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market, Boston Common and to the home of a friend whose family lives in Boston. It was very, very quiet around town with people sharing concern, caring, and compassion rather than the usual congratulations,” Rhoades said.
The tragic events of the Boston bombing, and the lives that were lost will always be remembered. According to those who have seen the live streams of the bombing to those who have experienced it first hand, such as Rhoades, the bombing will be known as one of the dark moments of humanity, but also as one where we rose up as a community and lended a helping hand for those in need.
“The stories of courage, support, and humanity that emerged and continue to emerge are inspiring. There was a general resolve among runners, which I share, to return to Boston next year stronger than ever,” Rhoades said.