In an unspeakable act of violence in Boston on Monday, two bombs detonated near the finish line of the world's premiere marathon. The terrifying blasts left at least three people dead and many others severely wounded. But out of the the smoke, shrapnel, and bloodstained concrete emerged countless stories of ordinary people braving a faceless danger to help the wounded and needy. Here are a few of them:
1. Carlos Arredondo, peace activist
Perhaps you've already seen the gruesome photograph of man in a wheelchair being rushed away from the scene as bloody shreds of exposed flesh and bone dangle from where his right leg should be. At his side is a long-haired, bearded man in a cowboy hat holding a tourniquet around the victim's leg. This Good Samaritan is Carlos Arredondo, a 52-year-old peace activist who sprang into action to help the injured. "I kept talking to him," Arredondo told the Press Herald. "Stay with me, stay with me." The Guardian reports that Arredondo's own history is "dramatic and harrowing."
He was reportedly waiting at the finish to greet a runner who was competing in the race in memory of his son, Alexander Arredondo, a lance corporal in the U.S. Marines who was killed by a sniper in 2004 in Iraq. Carlos Arredondo, a self-employed handyman, reacted to the news by attempting to set fire to himself inside a van, suffering severe burns. He subsequently became a peace campaigner, in part in remembrance of his son. […]
"As long as there are Marines fighting and dying in Iraq, I'm going to share my mourning with the American people," he told the paper. [Guardian]
2. Joe Andruzzi, retired NFL lineman
The former offensive lineman, who played for three New England Patriots Super Bowl championship teams, was near the finish line waiting for his wife when explosions ripped through the crowd. Then this happened:
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 16, 2013
Andruzzi — whose three brothers were all New York City firemen who responded to the September 11 attacks — was soon inundated with requests for interviews; he demurred. "I appreciate the interest in hearing our perspective on today's horrific events," Andruzzi said in a statement soon after the photo went viral, "[but] the spotlight should remain firmly on the countless individuals — first responders, medics, EMTs, runners who crossed the finish line and kept on running straight to give blood, and the countless civilians who did whatever they could to save lives. They were the true heroes."
3. Vernon Loeb, editor at The Washington Post, and 4. John Eligon, reporter at The New York Times
Both journalists ran this year's race, and had already crossed the finish line — Loeb, 20 minutes before the explosions, and Eligon, more than an hour prior. When the bombs exploded, both men immediately let their journalistic instincts take over, with Loeb interviewing racers and subsequently writing a full story for The Post, while Eligon reported from amidst the chaos for The Times.
5. Whoever created this spreadsheet
The Telegraph reports of a Google Document that quickly spread online. It contained the contact information of dozens of local Bostonians opening their homes to stranded runners in need of transport, a meal, or even a place to spend the night. "We have a couch to offer and two beautiful Chihuahuas to love you," wrote one woman. "My apartment is open to anyone in need."
6. The runners themselves
This tweet from NBC News speaks for itself:
Reports of Marathon Runners that crossed finish line and continued to run to Mass General Hospital to give blood to victims #PrayforBoston
— NBC Sports Network (@NBCSN) April 15, 2013
Or, take this terrifying footage of the first blast. As you can see, rather than running away from the point of impact, participants instead acted on a basic human instinct, and darted straight toward the danger in a bid to help others.