Thanks to Rick McDonald of U.S. Advisory in Boston for providing this guest blog which tells the "rest of the story". Rick's son, Tucker, was at the finish line yesterday. Tucker has run the Boston Marathon before. But yesterday he was there as a volunteer handing out water bottles. Fortunately, Tucker wasn't injured. But in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy Tucker's parents and brother were unable to contact him by cell phone. As you may have heard, cell phone communication was shut down immediately after the bombs exploded for fear that there would be more detonations of bombs via cell phone. In fact, from what Rick has told me, there were other bombs recovered and it appears there may have been as many as seven devices.
As Rick says, it is impossible to make sense out of this tragedy. But please read the rest of the story to understand that the Boston Marathon isn't just a race. It is perhaps one of the largest volunteer fund-raising efforts in the world. Quite a story:
The Rest of the Story -- By Frederick "Rick" McDonald
Yesterday was another senseless act of terror inflicted not only on Boston, but to our country, by people or peoples yet unknown.
We are all, by nature, centric to our own environment. But as a Bostonian, let me share with you what Patriot's Day in this town means. Patriot's Day is a state holiday. It is a day in which the city of Boston opens up its city to the world. Kids are out of school. Parking is free on the streets! The Bruins always play at home, and the Sox always have a mid day game at Fenway, 1 mile from the finish line of the Boston Marathon, so the crowd can intermingle with the tens of thousands in Copley Square.
The Marathon is, of course, one of the elite marathons in the world. But to us, it is far, far more than that. At 11, the elite runners take off in Hopkinton, seeking to finish 26 miles away in the city in 2 to 2 1/2 hours later. That's one marathon. But there is another. Getting a "number" is a big thing. You have to qualify, as 23,000 do. 23,000!!! A couple of hundred runners finish in the 2 -3 hour window. They are the elite. They come from all over the world to run "Boston". Then there is the "other" marathon. The amateurs. Where 20,000+ hope to finish in 4 or 5 hours. 4 is always the big "goal". But to be in that throng, to be "official", you "gotta get that numbaa on yah bib". And in Boston, that means you are running for a cause. You see, the Boston Marathon is a huge money raising event. You don't run Boston as an amateur without running for a cause. Boston raises millions for causes from Breast Cancer, to Children's Hospital to a myriad of wonderful causes that bring great joy to the runners, the spectators, and to all of Boston. Pride. On Patriot's Day. You don't get in this race without being a world class, elite runner, or top ranked and qualified, or unless you are sponsored by a cause, being "officially sanctioned".
Yesterday, two of what appears to be four bombs left along the sidewalk went off at the finish line of the race, at 4:09:15. That is the ideal "target" time for amateur runners running for joy, for love of running, for their "cause", as they sought to cross the line after enduring months and months of training for this grueling challenge.
It is difficult to express the atmosphere of the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Patriot's Day unless you have experienced it. It is uniquely special. It's deeply apart of being "Boston". Two years ago, one of my sons ran it, and we were there to share in the joy, the exhaustion, the love for running for a purpose, at 4:12:00. It was a wonderful afternoon. Fond recollections. This year, Tucker was an official volunteer at the finish line. He had begun walking home 5 or 10 minutes before the first explosion. He, like so many others, will look at this day through a totally different lens.
Our hearts and prayers go out to the families who lost loved ones and to those who lost limbs or were injured in any way, and suffer from yesterday's tragedy. All of us lost something in the senseless tragedy where something was lost and will never quite be the same. We will all grieve for the victims. We will all grieve for Boston, for our country.