April 15, 2013

We Stand With Boston

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I want to start this post by saying that my heart goes out to all of those affected by the Boston Marathon explosions. My brother, Ross Freilich ’09, is a marathon runner; I remember the joy I felt for him as I watched him run closer and closer to that 26.2 mile finish line, and I cannot fathom the pain and sadness I would feel if an act of terror turned that day of joy into a day of confusion, panic and worry.

When I am troubled by a situation, I try and find a solution through a policy lens. While I may not always be correct in my immediate plan of action, I find comfort in being able to locate a way to fix or prevent a problem in the future. In the wake of Monday’s events, I am without a solution or a plan for moving forward – how can you figure out how to fix something when you are completely unable to understand what could cause someone to commit such a horrific act?

I don’t have any answers, and I will not pretend that I do. Instead, I want to take a moment to acknowledge and appreciate the heroes of the Boston Marathon. These people literally ran to the rescue in a time of confusion and fear, and they showed the world that even in the darkest of times, there is always good to be found.

After the explosions, so many of the runners continued to run across the finishing line and onwards to the Massachusetts General Hospital, in a rush to give blood, that some had to be turned away. The Red Cross for Eastern Massachusetts even tweeted, “Due to the generosity of our donors we don’t need blood at this time,” but the volunteers kept coming, forcing the organization to tweet an hour later, “We do *NOT* need blood at this time. Please schedule a future donation.”

Another hero of the Boston Marathon was Carlos Arredondo, the one wearing the cowboy hat in photos. In footage of the explosion captured by the Boston Globe, Arredondo is seen rushing to help victims. In this photo, Arredondo is seen apparently holding together the femoral artery or tourniquet of a victim who had lost both his legs in the attack. Arredondo said to the Press Herald, “I kept talking to him. I kept saying, ‘Stay with me, stay with me.’” Arredondo was watching the race to support a runner who was running the marathon in honor of Arredondo’s son, Lance Cpl. Alexander S. Arredondo, who was killed in Iraq in 2004.

Former Patriots Guard Joe Andruzzi wasn’t heard from in the hours after the explosions. His Twitter indicated that he was watching the race from a location very close to where the first blast occurred, but after the attacks his Twitter remained silent. We later learned that he wasn’t tweeting because he was helping rescue blast victims.

Vernon Loeb, editor at The Washington Post, and John Eligon, reporter at The New York Times, both ran this year’s race and had already crossed the finish line before the bombs exploded. After the explosions, both men began interviewing racers and were able to keep the rest of the world updated amidst the chaos.

Dozens of Bostonians opened their homes to people who were stranded, or offered to drive those without means of transportation. Restaurants in the area offered free meals and shelter to those caught up in the tragedy. El Pelon, a Mexican restaurant in the area, tweeted, “Open wifi, place to charge your phone, cold drinks, or just don’t want to be alone.”

On Monday, we watched first responders and ordinary citizens run towards the victims of the explosion with no knowledge or fear of what could still occur – we saw them put their own lives in danger to help out complete strangers. Anne Frank once said, “Despite everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart,” and I think the aftermath of the explosions at the Boston Marathon proved that statement to be true.

My deepest condolences go out to the families of the three people who lost their lives yesterday, one of whom was an eight-year-old boy named Martin Richard whose mom and sister were also seriously injured. My thoughts and prayers are with the 176 injured, and I believe I can speak on behalf of the entire Cornell community when I say: We stand with Boston.

Original Author: Jaime Freilich

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