Monthly Archives: April 2013

My home… #BostonStrong – The Week That Was The Boston Marathon Bombing

Boston Marathon Memorial sign

Boston Marathon Memorial

This post is incredibly insignificant compared to the stories and ordeals of others…

I just need to write… Need to put words and images somewhere…

Monday, April 15th was the last day of a two week vacation. It was going to be a fun day – brunch and drinks downtown with friends at The Pour House, a little marathon spectating and cheering, and then returning home to work on a food photography project. But I felt a need to get my client’s project started early that morning. I texted my friends, telling them to enjoy a few beers for me. I was sad to miss cheering the runners down the final stretch of Boylston Street… After all, it’s tradition.

After wrapping up in the early afternoon, I logged onto Twitter and learned about what happened. My heart leapt into my throat and felt sick to my stomach. My friends – women who I consider my sisters – had moved to a hotel bar closer to the finish line. Luckily, they were in the back of the bar and ran out the emergency exit when they heard the explosions. Some other friends were volunteering somewhere after the finish line, and one by one they checked in on Facebook – they were okay. Then I learned an acquaintance was mere feet away from the bomb in front of Marathon Sports. How he escaped without a physical scratch, we’ll never know.

I sat in my apartment, glued to my television. I was scared for my co-workers… My full time job is with a local news station, WHDH-TV.¬†I bounce back and forth between the director and assistant director chairs. That day, a¬†photographer was on the media bridge over the finish line and caught the first explosion on camera. Several reporters were at the scene… I was scared for them. But that feeling was nothing compared to what the rest of the week had in store.

Non-stop news coverage. Images flying in from the scene. Press conferences, video of the explosion playing over and over and over again, victims being wheeled away… Images of those who lost their lives… Tears… Chaos and yelling in the control room. Friends of friends knew the people who died… Too close… “Hi Uncle Al! I’m on the air right now, can’t talk, I’m fine, I’ll call you later, okay?”… A lot of chaos and yelling in the control room. Oh, hey there friendly neighborhood snipers, dressed in black and holding automatic rifles of some sort! Thanks for keeping us safe! Live coverage of President Obama’s visit. Interfaith service broadcast. Boston Strong. More press conferences. The world’s eyes on our beloved city…

Thursday evening came. I met a friend for a drink. A drink turned into several drinks, making some new friends at the bar, and celebrating one of their birthdays. A beautiful occasion worth celebrating and being happy about! I got home and fell asleep at midnight.

2:30 AM, a text from my friend Sophia in Los Angeles woke me up: “Thinking of you… Hope you’re doing okay. Let’s talk soon”. She had checked in earlier in the week…maybe this was a drunk text? Nah, she’s not that type. Still weird though. I turned over and closed my eyes. My phone beeped again. Another text from my friend Jack in Los Angeles: “WHAT IS GOING ON IN BOSTON?! ARE YOU OKAY?!?!”. I leapt out of bed and turned on the news, only to see my co-worker caught in the middle of gunfire with the bombing suspects. One suspect died. I was shaking.

Watertown, MA. One friend had FBI agents on his lawn and saw a huge spotlight shining into the house across the street. More friends live a few blocks away from the gunfight. My boyfriend heard the gun shots, and he lives a town over. It was a sleepless night. I got to work at 6:30 AM.

Our reporter who had bullets whiz by his head was still on the air. More reporters were out there. Every law enforcement agency was out there. Putting reporters on the air, one by one, summarizing the scenes. Swat teams surround a garage right next to a reporter while they are on the air. Me: “Oh God…um…can we keep the suspects photos in…in preview…just in case…” I swallowed hard. That was the most terrifying moment in my television career. There was no knowing if the suspect was actually in there…and if he was, what he would do…

Rotate in and out of the director chair with co-workers for hours. Please, please, please, don’t let anything bad happen out there… Things started quieting down around 7PM… The lock down was lifted… I started thinking about going home, but then the suspect was found hiding in a boat. In Watertown. Gun fire. Reporters and photographers in danger again.

And then it was over. Relief. As I left work, the streets were still very quiet. I walked past a police station, as the guys were starting to pull in from Watertown. “Thank you so much for everything you did this week…” One officer could only give a tired, weary smile, and a nod. The other rejoiced that he could finally go home and made a bee line for his car. Another mentioned where they were all going drinking. They, along with all the EMT’s and folks at local hospitals, deserve all the beers in the world.

Jeff had a bottle of wine waiting for me when I got home. And I broke down the second I closed the door. The city I lived in for 15 years…the innocent people who are recovering and learning to manage the difficult memories…there are so many amazing stories emerging about them…my co-workers out there in the middle of it all…my friends who live in and around Watertown…the images all flying in at the same time, and choosing which ones you the viewers see at home…

Bad dreams. Dreams woke me every hour or so for a few nights. If I’m experiencing that, I can’t begin to imagine what others are experiencing… *BIG HUGS TO YOU*

I visited the memorial on Monday… Took it all in… The media presence, the barricades, the empty street, the notes, sneakers, marathon medals, trinkets… I walked down Newbury Street, which runs parallel to Boylston. It was nearly empty of pedestrians. Smaller memorials at the cross streets… Niketown, completely covered in messages written with chalk… The messages from all around the world… Heartwarming and comforting.

We were shaken, but not broken. We are Boston. We are one. And no one messes with our f-ing city.

Boylston Street Reopens

Boston Marathon Bombing Memorial

Boston Marathon Bombing

Boston Marathon Bombing Memorial

Boston Strong

Boston Marathon Bombing Memorials

Boston Marathon Bombing

Boston Marathon Bombing