SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

April 18, 2013

Our view: Heroism, support ease marathon tragedy

Among the more inspiring stories to emerge from the horror of the Boston Marathon bombing have been those that tell of the heroic actions of those who responded to the blasts.

Those stories, as well as the outpouring of support that Bostonians and New Englanders have received from around the nation and the world, give us confidence that, while we are still reeling from Monday’s tragedy, goodness ultimately triumphs over evil.

The marathon bombing may well have been the most photographed terror attack in history. Thousands of photographers, both amateur and professional, were on hand recording videos and taking still images of the runners as they finished the race. They documented the explosions and their aftermath from virtually every angle. Many of those videos and images have been published or posted to the Internet.

The common theme running through them all is the great number of people running toward the locations of the blasts. Many of these, of course, were professional first responders — police, firefighters, paramedics, EMTs, doctors and nurses. Others were ordinary citizens — spectators and runners — who were eager to help comfort the injured.

The scene immediately following the explosions was complete chaos. It was unclear whether more blasts would follow or what further mayhem might ensue. Yet people saw that there were many injured, some severely, and they moved in to help.

Peter O’Connor and Donald Philpot were part of a group of Beverly firefighters who volunteer at the marathon each year. When the explosions occurred, O’Connor told reporter Bethany Bray, “Everybody just jumped into the stuff we were trained to do. Everybody went to someone that was injured.”

Both men were impressed by the actions of bystanders who moved toward the site of the explosion, looking to help.

“The people that hadn’t had any training — everyone was wary of what else might be happening, but no one was concerned about that. They were trying to make the situation better,” said O’Connor, a deputy chief.

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