One Year Later, Boston Is Still Strong


E. Roeder

Miramonte graduate of 2014, Adam Roeder, pushes through mile 25. Nearing the finish line, Roeder finished the race before the bombs detonated.

Sarah Rockwood, Staff Writer

As the starting gun ripped through the cold Boston sky early this morning, 36,000 runners began the challenging 26.2 mile course of one of the most famous marathons in the world.  The same marathon where, one year before, two pressure cooker bombs detonated at the finish line, killing three people and injuring 264 others.

Last Tuesday, April 15, marked the exact one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing that shook the nation to its core.  Thousands of solemn spectators lined Boylston Street, where the bombs exploded, in a wreath memorial service commemorating the victims and their families.  Speeches were given by survivors and family members honoring all those who helped save lives or suffered in the largest terror attack since Sept. 11, 2001.  The mantra “Boston Stands as One” captured the sentiment of the day.

With over 23,000 participants, the 2013 Boston Marathon had attracted runners from all over the world.  Adam Roeder, Miramonte graduate of 2014 , was participating in the race for the first time. “The atmosphere a few hours after the race was scary and devout of celebration.  Luckily, I was able to finish well before the explosions happened,” Roder said.

Roeder’s younger sister, Eleanor, who was then a freshman, heard about the explosions secondhand while in class.  “The first I heard about it was when my history teacher made an announcement and I immediately started frantically calling my brother and mom.  Because the cell towers were so blocked up, the calls weren’t going through and that made me think that something had actually happened to them,” Eleanor said.  “When I heard he was okay and about his amazing race time, I was both relieved and proud.”

Some athletes who were finishing near the time of the explosion witnessed the atrocity firsthand.  “I saw both blasts from down Bolyston St. I was talking to a woman from Shanghai.  Neither of us knew what the cause was nor could we see the destruction that was wrought,” Tim O’Brien, an Orinda resident and parent, said.  “It began to sink in when the race official broke down.  Then it just became about clearing out of the finish area, finding my wife, and letting folks know we were okay.”

His son, Charlie O’Brien, a sophomore at the time, was immediately notified by the administration that both his parents were alright.  After the news of the explosions spread, many people took the responsibility of checking up on family members and friends, both in Boston and at home.  “That is what life should be about.  Stepping up and lending a hand any way you can when there is some need,” O’Brien said.

This year will serve not only to be one of the largest pools of runners in the race’s history, with an increase of 13,000 runners, but is also a chance for the nation to remember and honor the tragedies of last year.  Millions of spectators are expected to line the streets in support of the racers, a monumental increase from the usual 500,000.

Security measures have been revamped for precautionary measures.  “No runners are permitted to bring any bags, backpacks, camelbacks, or cinch bags,” Miramonte Track and Field coach Brad Alban, who is racing for the first time this year, said.  “The only thing we can bring is a fanny pack.  If the spectators bring any bags, they have to be seriously searched.”

The bombs were set off by two Chechen brothers, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who claimed the have been motivated by extreme Islamist beliefs.  Tamerlan was shot and run over just hours after the bombing and Dzhokhar was apprehended later that day.  While pleading not guilty on 30 charges, the federal government is seeking the death penalty.  A federal court trial is scheduled for Nov. 3, 2014.

“Looking to Boston now, the city and participants are uniting not only for a great competition, but spiritually as well,” Adam Roeder said.  “‘Boston stands as one’ is a spectacular effort commemorate the unfortunate victims of last year.”

Miramonte graduate of 2014, Adam Roeder, pushes through mile 25.  Nearing the finish line, Roeder finished the race before the bombs detonated.
Miramonte graduate of 2014, Adam Roeder, pushes through mile 25. Nearing the finish line, Roeder finished the race before the bombs detonated.