EDITOR’S NOTE: THIS IS A SPECIAL EDITION OF PETE HOGAN’S COLUMN. ORDINARILY HE COVERS THE WORLD OF VIDEOGAMES FOR RONTHINK BUT, AS WE SAW ON MONDAY, OFTEN TIMES WHAT HAPPENS IN THE REAL WORLD IS ANYTHING BUT A GAME. PETE WAS AT THE BOSTON MARATHON CHEERING ON HIS WIFE, JEN. SHE WAS RUNNING IN THE EVENT FOR THE FIRST TIME. THAT’S HER IN THE PICTURE ABOVE, PROUDLY DISPLAYING HER NUMBER. SHE SHOULD BE PROUD. THE BOSTON MARATHON IS CONSIDERED TO BE THE SINGLE MOST PRESTIGIOUS EVENT OF ITS KIND. YOU HAVE TO QUALIFY IN ORDER TO RUN AND THE TRAINING IS RIGOROUS. EVERY RUNNER THERE ON MONDAY EARNED THEIR SPOT AND EVERY SPECTATOR ALONG THE ROUTE WAS THERE TO CHEER THEM ON. WITH PETE’S PERMISSION, I PULLED COMMENTS HE MADE IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE BOMBS DETONATED AND 24 HOURS LATER. THESE ARE HIS WORDS AND THE SENTIMENTS EXPRESSED HAVE NOT BEEN EDITED. -RJH
MONDAY APRIL 15, 2013
My wife finished 9 minutes before the first blast went off.
I was standing with several members of Jens’ family at the barricade in front of the Old South Church. We were all congratulating her. This was about 100 feet from the first blast. We eventually went our separate ways; Jen and I down the finishers’ chute and her family toward the Hynes Convention Center T stop.
They were about 30 feet from the first blast when it went off. Miraculously, none of them were hurt. It made all of us realize that if Jen had finished a little later or we said goodbye to her family a little sooner, things could have been much different.
My heart goes out to all those affected by this heinous act. The Boston Marathon is loved by runners all over the world. It's sad that a race that brings so many people together and inspires so many, was targeted this way. Unfortunately, events like this have become preferred targets of those who want to kill and injure innocent people. It makes me sick to my stomach and today I witnessed this horror firsthand.
My wife, her family and I are lucky to be home safe. Others were not so lucky. The joy and inspiration that this race brings to so many people is forever changed…
TUESDAY APRIL 16, 2013
Having had almost 24 hrs. to reflect on yesterday's tragedy, I can still say I truly don't know how to feel.
I'm angry at the coward or cowards who would kill and maim innocent people in an attempt to spread fear and hate. I'm also angry that what should have been a special day of pride and accomplishment for the runners (my wife included) and their families has now been torn away.
I also feel thankful that my wife, her family and my friends who were running are all safe but, I feel guilty at the same time. I wonder why we should be so lucky and others not? It makes you realize how the smallest of decisions can have huge implications in your life. If my brother-in-law had chosen a spot 100 feet closer to the finish line or, if my wife had crossed the finish line 9 minutes later, one or more of us might not be here today.
I do feel a huge sense of pride when thinking about how first responders, volunteers and complete strangers ran into the fray with total disregard for their own safety to help those hurt, not knowing or caring if there would be another blast. There's a reason I tell my wife I love her when I talk to her on the phone or leave the house. You never know if it will be the last time you talk to or see a person you love.
My wife had asked me yesterday "How can I display my medal or wear my finishers’ jacket with a clear conscience?" At the time, I couldn't answer her question but now, I say to her and to all those who ran: display your medals and wear your jackets as a tribute to all those affected by acts of terror. Not doing so is attempting to forget what happened and allows cowards to accomplish what they set out to do: spread fear and hate.
This is an amazing country and Boston is an amazing city. Time and again, we have shown the ability to put differences aside and rise to the occasion. This time cannot and will not be any different!