Maggie: Eighteen-year-old Hannah Schmidt celebrated her upcoming high school graduation by running the Boston Marathon.
Hannah Schmidt: It was just, you know, something that I had dreamt about since I was a freshman, you know. I wanted to run it by the time I graduated. That I wanted to do the Boston Marathon.
Maggie: What was it like when you crossed the finish line?
Hannah: It was just so emotional that I had a finally accomplished that goal. And once you cross that finish line, no one can take that away from you.
Maggie: Just minutes after Hannah finished the race, the first explosion hit.
Hannah: And everyone was just dead silent around me, not knowing how to react because that’s something that we weren’t prepared for. Everyone was just in awe and confused and people were running and everything like that. Just trying to get away from the scene.
Maggie: At least three people were killed and more than 175 others were injured in the two blasts.
Even today, some of the usually busy streets of Boston are eerily quiet.
Hunter: The mood has completely changed. You can tell there is much more sadness in the air, but there is also a lot of respect for the military and the people that served during the time of need.
Maggie: Investigators in Boston call this area surrounding the finish line of the marathon the most complex crime scene in the city’s history. And they say this twelve-block radius will stay an active crime scene for at least another day.
The injured, several of whom lost limbs in the attack, are being treated in hospitals across the city. Doctors say the bombs were packed with shrapnel – ball bearings, carpenter nails and other metals purposely packed into the bomb, so when it explodes scraps fly out and inflict the most damage to people nearby.
Dr. George Velmahos: Probably this bomb had multiple metallic fragments in them. And we removed pellets and nails.
Maggie: In the middle of all the fear and panic, people stepped up to help others, heading toward the chaos instead of away from it. Ripping past barricades to help victims who had suffered horrible injuries.
Dan Conley: That’s what Americans do in times of crisis. We come together and we help one another. Moments like these, terrible as they are, don’t show our weakness. They show our strength.
Maggie: Social networking has been playing a huge role during this tragedy. In the moments following Monday’s explosions, Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and Tumblr quickly filled with information, including urgent messages posted directly from law enforcement authorities.
The internet also helped families and runners reunite in the hours of chaos that followed the two blasts. Google launched its disaster People Finder and several other people posted messages of their own, offering beds and shelters to visitors stranded here in Boston. And now the internet has postings from all around the world from people who are sending their prayers and support to the people of Boston.
Maggie: How do you think we can move forward as a nation and as individuals after this tragedy?
Hannah: Everyone’s instant reaction is to just kind of give into this devastation. We can’t let their violent acts be louder than our kind ones.
Maggie: In Boston, Maggie Rulli, Channel One News.
- What do investigators know at this point about what happened Monday afternoon?
- How has social networking played a role in helping people get through this experience?