"Had run 11 Boston Marathons since 2001, but decided to take this year off and cheer others on. Was standing on the corner of this raised stone treebox to get a better sightline above crowd on the ground in front of me. Alternately, was looking left up Boylston Street in hopes of spotting my cousin (a runner) coming through, and right down Boylston looking to connect with a friend who had finished and who was working her way back up the street. Heard the 1st blast, saw the plume of spoke rise quickly skyward. In those 10 seconds, tried to comprehend, what was that? Celebratory cannon? Fits in w/ Patriots Day theme. But seemed too loud, too much smoke. And having run a few in the 4:00-4:10 timeframe, hadn’t ever heard one of those before. Was looking in that direction when 2nd blast hit. In an instant, virtually all spectators on the Pru plaza fled away from the explosion. Runners on the course, bewildered after the 1st blast, reversed direction after the 2nd. We knew then it was an attack of some kind. I stayed put on the treebox, still searching for cousin and friend. (At this moment, I will never forget one tall young guy and two friends running across Boylston into the 2nd blast zone, clearly willing to put themselves in harm’s way to help others.) I jumped down to run down Boylston, which was virtually deserted at this point. Saw one man with severe lower body injuries, bloodied pants torn apart in many places, sitting in a state of shock in the middle of Boylston. Yet even though it was merely seconds after the blast, there were what I recall as 3 Boston Police and 3 Boston Fire surrounding him, providing immediate first responder care. After a few frantic calls racing up and down that stretch of Boylston, finally found friend safe back inside the Pru. Then found cousin and her family down Dartmouth Street. Just now, with the help of extraordinary friends and family, snapping out of the guilt-ridden funk I’ve been in since this happened. That I should have done more. Whether that was even possible or not for a number of reason, I’m now coping with that guilt, and I know others are too. I just talked to one of them."

"Your Story": Reflections on the 2013 Marathon Gathered by GlobeLab


Following the Boston Marathon bombings, the hotel where my family and I were staying was evacuated. We passed time by grabbing a bite to eat and wandering around the surrounding neighborhoods, but as time went on, my sisters, who finished the marathon about 30 minutes before the bombs went off and were still wrapped in their foil blankets, started to get cold and all of our phones were dead or quickly running out of battery. We came across a small, underground laundry mat on Columbus Ave. called Five Star Laundry and asked the owners if we could sit inside to keep warm and use their outlets to charge our phones. The owners did not speak much English, but their little kids did, and they translated our explanation of what had happened and our request to the owners who immediately welcomed us in. The kids became increasingly curious about my sisters and the rest my family, and before we knew it, they were chatting up a storm with us, putting on my sisters’ medals, and even sitting on their laps. As a gesture of gratitude, my husband went to the convenience store down the road and came back with candy for the children. This picture shows my sisters with the children, candy in hand. During such a dark time, it was reassuring and comforting to experience the hospitality and friendliness of the people at Five Star Laundry.

There is no story too small. Share your story here.

Following the Boston Marathon bombings, the hotel where my family and I were staying was evacuated. We passed time by grabbing a bite to eat and wandering around the surrounding neighborhoods, but as time went on, my sisters, who finished the marathon about 30 minutes before the bombs went off and were still wrapped in their foil blankets, started to get cold and all of our phones were dead or quickly running out of battery. We came across a small, underground laundry mat on Columbus Ave. called Five Star Laundry and asked the owners if we could sit inside to keep warm and use their outlets to charge our phones. The owners did not speak much English, but their little kids did, and they translated our explanation of what had happened and our request to the owners who immediately welcomed us in. The kids became increasingly curious about my sisters and the rest my family, and before we knew it, they were chatting up a storm with us, putting on my sisters’ medals, and even sitting on their laps. As a gesture of gratitude, my husband went to the convenience store down the road and came back with candy for the children. This picture shows my sisters with the children, candy in hand. During such a dark time, it was reassuring and comforting to experience the hospitality and friendliness of the people at Five Star Laundry.

There is no story too small. Share your story here.

The poem, written by Gabriella, a “New York City Student,” is titled “We” and dedicated as “A Tribute to the Boston Marathon Bombings.”
Did you write a poem in solidarity with the city of Boston? Share it here.

The poem, written by Gabriella, a “New York City Student,” is titled “We” and dedicated as “A Tribute to the Boston Marathon Bombings.”

Did you write a poem in solidarity with the city of Boston? Share it here.

"Notes from the Boston Marathon Bombing and Cambridge Lockdown"

Cambridge is under lockdown right now. My apartment, usually so spacious and bright is constricting, suffocating, close. It’s been four days since the bombings. Four days since I rode my bike over the Mass. Ave. bridge, parked myself close to the race’s end and waited for the first of the wheelchair racers to streak by, sweating, straining, defiant.

To get down to the facts, this is not the first terrorist attack I have been in. This is not the first time that I have experienced the closeness, the despair of lockdown. Or the rumors and fear that come (and stay) long after an attack has occurred.

Columbine commenced my freshman year of high school. My senior year in a New York City high school was ushered in by the deadliest foreign attack on American soil. In the spring of my first year of College we entered what would become one of the most protracted and least effective of wars, in Iraq. I guess like most other generations have said, and will say again, it was a hard time to be growing up.

It was hard to be a New Yorker on September 11th, but what was worse was being a New Yorker in the years that came afterward. The terror alerts, the military, the dogs, all stayed long after the dust had settled over lower Manhattan, and the debris had been cleared away from Ground Zero. It was hard to leave New York less than a year after the towers went down. In some ways I felt like I was forsaking my city by moving elsewhere.

That elsewhere was New England. Idyllic, pastoral, Puritan. For six years I lived in a middle sized city, content with the regular crime that comes from post-industrialization and urban decay. Gangs and drugs and armed robbery were far more comforting than shadow plots, suitcase nukes, and training camps halfway across the world.

But as time passed I think we all forgot just a little what it feels like to be victims of such nebulous and unexplainable crimes. There were near misses of course, like the Times Sq. car bomb, and hits such as London in 2005. And just because we were able to breathe a long (if somewhat raspy) sigh of relief doesn’t mean that homegrown terror and atrocity took a break around the world. In truth, we have had it lucky, we aren’t Syria, we aren’t Libya, we aren’t Pakistan. We are, in comparison, safe.

Of course Monday shattered, as the news outlets like to say, that sense of security. That sense that 9/11 and Newtown and Oklahoma City and WTC 1991 and Columbine and dozens of other similar crimes were aberrations. The unusual. The unlikely. More and more we are living in spaces where these attacks are becoming the norm. More and more our sighs of raspy relief are shortening, quickening, morphing into uncertain pauses between gasps. 

I don’t know what to say about all this. I am both reliant on the clichéd expressions and rampant speculation of the media and appalled by it. I have read the articles, listened to the near-misses and the hits and most of what I feel right now is numb. Numb and afraid. My mind is a city filled with suspect packages, threatening to explode at any moment. Find order, create pattern, fail, try again. Terrorism isn’t logical, don’t let them win. Return to your lives. Live normally. Be resilient. Don’t fuck with us. You picked the wrong city. We’ll get you. Boston Strong. Home safe. We’re all OK.

Click here for the rest of Giaimo’s story.

Do you have a story about public transportation in the city following the 2013 Boston Marathon? Share your pictures and stories here. 

Do you have a story about public transportation in the city following the 2013 Boston Marathon? Share your pictures and stories here

Siobhan Shea volunteered with Our Marathon this summer and while she is back in school now, she shared one final post on the WBUR Oral History Project for the blog:

 

Minhui was a close friend of Lingzi Lu, and shares her story about her close relationship they shared and the aftermath of hearing of Lingzi’s death.

Minhui discussed talking about one of the things she worried about the most, which was Lingzi’s parents. “Her parents. Because for me I lost a friend but I have some other friends but for her parents, that’s their only daughter. So I think they must be really sad.”

Right before the marathon day, they went to Dim Sum together, which was the last time they saw each other. Minhui reflected on what Lingzi’s life meant to her and her friends, and how she will continue to keep Lingzi in her heart.

“After that I realized that it’s already a very good thing that I can be alive, that I can study what I like, that I can still enjoy the beautiful thing in Boston and everyone here. I am very lucky. I think the best way is to be a better me. If someone talks about Lingzi I will talk about the goodness of Lingzi and I will say that I hope that her spirits can encourage a lot of people because she is always seeing the positive side of life and I hope everyone can be like her. Every time when I am faced with difficulties I will think that it’s not a big deal, I am already very lucky. Eventually I can find a way out. I should be as positive as her.”

Minhui and her friends got in touch with Professor Eric Kolaczyk the day of the bombings after they could not find Lingzi.

 

Professor Eric Kolaczyk

 

Professor Eric Kolaczyk is the Director of the Program in Statistics in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Boston University, a mentor and advisor to Lingzi Lu, a graduate student from China who tragically lost her life as a result of the Boston Marathon bombings. He shares his story and discusses the events that followed the bombing and the aftermath of hearing about Lingzi Lu’s death.

“An entire line of people in front of me… an entire line of people let me go by. I kept showing them my card and I said I’m really sorry I don’t do this, but you see the young lady on CNN there, that they’re reporting died, she was mine. And I need to get back.”

Since Lingzi was working towards her master’s degree, Professor Eric Kolaczyk and the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Boston University gave Lingzi Lu a master’s degree posthumously. Boston University now also offers the Lingzi Lu Scholarship, which is given to outstanding international students at the top of their class that are perusing their master’s degree at Boston University.
Check out the Our Marathon Digital Archive for more on the WBUR Oral History Project.
Share your photos from the Copley Square Memorial with Our Marathon here.

Share your photos from the Copley Square Memorial with Our Marathon here.

"My fiancee and I had just left from Boylston St. in the alley between the Lenox and Lord & Taylor due to crowds. Our friend told us she would meet us later and continued to watch the race. We walked about two blocks when we heard two loud booms, a first followed quickly by a second.
Following the second sound, a discussion ensued about what would cause such a sound. When my fiancee stated it sounded like a bomb, I responded that if it were a bomb, we would hear sirens. As if prophetic, the city burst to life with the sounds of fire, police, and ambulance sirens. We took off running for our place in the South End to find out what happened. Seeing the news come on, we immediately rushed to contact our friend whom we’d left at the sight. Getting no response, we ran from out place back towards the finish line, hoping and praying. Luckily, our friend had walked into a store across Boylston to charge her phone and was safe. Others, we soon found out were not so lucky.
I want to thank everyone who showed such courage and bravery in the face of such horror. Boston is my adopted home, and I have never been more proud to live here with such an amazing group of people. Thank you! I plan on being out there next year to root on the runners again, and I hope the crowd is even bigger to show these horrible people that Bostonians and Americans will never back down from terror."

"Your Story": Reflections on the 2013 Marathon Gathered by GlobeLab

The September 11 Digital Archive (an archive that inspired the work of Our Marathon and other projects) has been upgraded and redesigned. The new site debuted today to commemorate the 13th anniversary of the event.