Little Bits of History

Boston Marathon Bombings

Posted in History by patriciahysell on April 15, 2015
Site of the first bomb last at the Boston Marathon bombings*

Site of the first bomb last at the Boston Marathon bombings*

April 15, 2013: The Boston Marathon bombings take place. The Boston Marathon had been an annual event in Boston since 1897. It has traditionally been held on the third Monday in April, Patriots’ Day. In 2013 there had been no indication of any problems but the area was swept for bombs twice before the explosions took place, the last about one hour before the explosions. People were permitted to come and go as they pleased and were permitted to carry bags into the area. At 2.49 PM, about two hours after the winner had crossed the finish line, but with more than 5,700 runners yet to complete the 26.2 mile course, two bombs detonated on Boylston Street. The time on the finish line clock read 04:09:43 – the elapsed time since the race began. Thirteen seconds later, the second bomb exploded.

Two pressure cooker bombs exploded, throwing shrapnel into the gathered crowd. Windows were exploded by the blasts, furthering injury to the people standing nearby. No structural damage to the buildings was reported. Runners continued to cross the finish line until 2.57 PM, about 8 minutes after the blasts. Three people were killed and another 264 were injured. Rescue crews were on site to help with aid to runners and they immediately rushed in to help with the wounded. Additional Boston EMS and Boston Fire Department units were dispatched. Twenty-seven local hospitals received patients from the bombings. At least 14 people required amputations with some having traumatic amputations as a direct result from the blasts.

The race was halted and Boston Police used established emergency plans to reroute the remaining runners away from finish line. They were directed to Boston Common and Kenmore Square. A 15-block area of Boston was closed and nearby buildings, including the Lenox Hotel, were evacuated. The Massachusetts Army National Guard had been a presence at the race and they, too, were enlisted to help with the wounded. The scene was further thrown into confusion as people had dropped backpacks as they fled and each abandoned pack had to be treated as a potential bomb. No other bombs were found.

As a precaution, the Federal Aviation Administration restricted airspace over Boston and closed Boston’s Logan International Airport. Some traffic on the bay was also curtailed. Other cities in Massachusetts and surrounding states put their police forces on alert in case it was more than a local assault. Cell phone service was overloaded as people tried to find out if loved ones were injured. The American Red Cross, the Boston Police Department, and Google Person Finder all helped people contact each other. Several hotels were closed due to the explosions and many Boston area residents opened their homes to stranded runners and their families. Entrants who had completed at least half the race but were unable to finish because of the bombings were given automatic entry into the 2014 Boston Marathon, which ran smoothly.

When you run a marathon, you mean it. We’re built for running. We dream of flying. For now, though, we’re built for running. – Benjamin Cheever

The marathon is a charismatic event. It has everything. It has drama. It has competition. It has camaraderie. It has heroism. Every jogger can’t dream of being an Olympic champion, but he can dream of finishing a marathon. – Fred Lebow

If you feel bad at 10 miles, you’re in trouble. If you feel bad at 20 miles, you’re normal. If you don’t feel bad at 26 miles, you’re abnormal. – Rob de Castella

The marathon never ceases to be a race of joy, a race of wonder. – Hal Higdon

Also on this day: Going for the Gold – In 1896, the first Modern Olympic Games come to an end.
Cartography – in 1924, Rand McNally published its first atlas.
Leonardo – In 1452, Leonardo da Vinci was born.
Sunk – In 1912, the Titanic sunk.
Definitive – In 1755, Johnson’s dictionary was published.

* “1st Boston Marathon blast seen from 2nd floor and a half block away” by Aaron Tang – Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

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