When two bombs filled with shrapnel — from nails to small metal balls — exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, the horror was felt in the Walla Walla Valley. It reverberated coast to coast.
The runners came from throughout America and the world.
Minutes after the explosions left bloody bodies on the street, the air filled with screams and shrouded by smoke, word of the horror spread throughout the world.
The family and friends of those who were runners or spectators at the race were instantly frozen in Walla Walla and elsewhere. They needed to find out if their friends or relatives were safe.
Those who qualified for the Boston Marathon had been preparing for a joyous event and a great feeling of accomplishment. Instead, they were left shocked and filled with a variety of emotions, from fear to anger to grief. Three people were killed — including an 8-year-old boy — and more than 150 injured by the bombs.
Several people from the Walla Walla area were at the race, many of whom told their stories to Union-Bulletin reporters. (Story on page one.) It appears nobody from this area was injured.
Walla Walla County Auditor Karen Martin was there to watch her daughter, Diane Martin Newton, run. Newton finished the race about half an hour before the explosions.
“We’re counting our lucky stars and we’re just sick to our stomachs at what happened,” Martin said.
The entire nation is sick to its collective stomachs over this horrific event. The evil necessary to ignite two bombs designed to maim and kill is difficult to grasp.
Yet, Americans have come to accept sick and evil people exist, and they attempt to inflict terror.
In the day that has passed, much of the initial fear felt by the nation has diminished and has been replaced with a resolve to not let the person or people behind the bombings force us to live in fear.
“If you want to know who we are, who America is, how we respond to evil — that’s it. Selflessly, compassionately, unafraid,” President Obama said Monday.
The nation should, and will, remain on alert for foreign or domestic terrorists who use bombs and guns to cause devastation, but we will not let them paralyze us with fear.
The security will likely be beefed up at big gatherings of people such as sporting events or concerts. They will go on and people should not be afraid to attend.