A community project hosted at Northeastern University

With any catastrophic event we all...

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This story was collected by the Boston Globe in the days immediately following the Boston Marathon Bombing. GlobeLab collected these anonymous stories on the Boston.com website and donated them to the Our Marathon Archive. We are grateful for this contribution, which gives insight into how Bostonians and visitors to the city understood the bombing events in their immediate aftermath.

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With any catastrophic event we all have our, “I was….when…” stories. My Boston Marathon 2013 story begins at the finish line, where the attack took place. I was at the exact spot of the attack with my best friend, less than 45 minutes before the first bomb went off. It was a picturesque spring day and together we cheered along with the crowd as each runner finished their 26.2 mile race. Families held homemade signs supporting their loved ones, Kenyans waved their country’s flag as their friends, and heroes, collected their medals and children rang bells as they sat on their parents’ shoulders. I felt privelged to be a part of the joyous energy, the sunshine, and the infectious, uplifting spirit of the day. it was remarkable to witness such human triumph, endurance, community and perseverance on such a large scale.

My own dedication to 19th Amendment tore me away from the crowds and celebration of the day. I could still hear the cheers of the crowds when I got to the 19th Amendment Newbury Street office, a block and a half away from the finish line. Still operating off of the contact high from all the positivity, I was determined to fly through my work so that I could get back outside and partake in the fun. But then I heard the blast. Being Patriots’ Day I assumed that the thunderous boom was from a celebratory cannon. But then there was another blast. Cheers turned into screams, sirens replaced the ringing of bells and time slowed. My stomach dropped as I ran to the window where I saw streams of people running down Newbury St. in panic. I watched helplessly as Boston’s highest foot traffic street emptied and police officers roped off Newbury Street declaring it a crime scene.

Cell phone service was shut down, for fear that the bombs were being set off by the signal. Through social media that I was able to confirm my safety to my relatives and friends across the world minutes after the first explosion. I felt caged, paralyzed with fear, trapped in a grounded state of fight-or-flight. Despite the windows being closed the smell of burnt mental permeated the air. The sound of sirens, helicopters, and screams blended into a monotonous ringing and the world before me started to spin. I watched bomb sniffing dogs canvas the street, and S.W.A.T. teams go in and out of high end boutiques. I was trapped in the middle of a crime scene. After two hours I decided to leave the office. The eeriness of empty store fronts and deserted sidewalks gave way to mass confusion as I turned onto Mass Ave. A sea of neon athletic wear and stranded marathoners wrapped in foil blankets, tears, and people lending cell phones and money, this was the true test of human endurance and community, not the race which seemed a distant memory.

A marathon is a test of endurance, of perseverance, and of support systems. These senseless acts have tested Boston’s test of endurance, perseverance, and community. When people ask me why I started 19th Amendment in Boston, I tell them it’s because of the community here – we persevere, we help and we move forward together. Boston you’re my home.

-Amanda

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