As I write this, it has barely been 24 hours since the terrorist attack in Boston during the running of the Boston Marathon. One day later, my heart is heavy with sadness about the deaths and the terrible maiming caused by improvised explosive devices designed to cause as much damage as possible to participants and spectators alike. My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims, their families, the first responders and the people of Boston. I pray for God’s mighty hand to be with those who are conducting the investigation.
By Chuck McDougald
This terrible attack reminds us that we live in perilous times. As of now, we don’t know who committed this attack or what their agenda might be. But, we do know there are people in the world who want to hurt others and who will go to any extreme to do so. We know that evil, which at times seems far away on distant shores, can again appear in our midst even on another bright, sunny and glorious day.
The pictures and videos are seared into my mind. Explosions. Screams. Blood. Anguish. Chaos. Fear.
Yet something else is pushing out those memories. Something else is straining to be heard, to be recognized and to be celebrated. That is the response of the runners, the visitors, the crowd, the first responders and the citizens of Boston.
The people of Boston showed such kindness to their fellow man. They showed courage and they showed love in action. They showed the basic goodness of human beings who are willing to help each other. There will always be bad guys and evildoers. So we must band together to fight the evil and overcome it.
That is the American spirit. That is what has built our country from disparate groups into a coherent whole. That is the America that I know and that’s why today I lift up and celebrate those who were there, those who responded and those who helped in any way they could.
I am proud of the first responders, those who ran toward the blasts and who were ready to treat and protect the wounded. I am proud of their training, of the way they did their duty and of the way took charge to calm the chaos.
I am proud of the spectators and visitors who immediately offered aid to those injured around them, whether a comforting word, a drink of water or an improvised tourniquet to stanch the bleeding.
I am proud of Jessica Newman, 32, of Connecticut who, the Washington Post reports, saw a bloody woman in shock with shrapnel in both her legs. Newman didn’t wait for others to lead or for the official paramedics to arrive. Instead, she did what she could, running into a coffee shop, pushing unknowing customers out of the way and grabbing the paper napkins so she could stop some of the bleeding. It worked, and the victim, transported to a nearby facility, was soon receiving medical attention.
I am proud of the medical personnel on hand for the race. Trained and ready for sports injuries, dehydration and exhaustion they immediately shifted to life-saving and limb-saving mode. Without them, even more victims would have died.
And I am proud of the people of Boston. One day later, they are “keeping calm and carrying on.” News reports indicate that just one day later, they are back to work, back to their schools and back to their families. They intend to show, through their quiet actions, that terrorists will not win, that their city will not bow down and that their lives, though changed, will continue.
Today, one day later, is a sad day. Today, one day later, is a day to resolve to fight evil in all its forms, from wherever it may come. Today, one day later, is a day to lift up those who help, those who run toward the blasts, those who offer a drink of water.
Today, one day later, is a day I am proud to be an American.
Chuck McDougald is on his second term as San Mateo Republican Party chair. In 2008, he was head of the California Veterans Coalition for U.S. Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign. In 2010, he was chair of Volunteers for Carly Fiorina’s senatorial campaign.