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Heartbreak at the 2013 Boston Marathon

I have always had an interest in health and fitness and for over 35 years have been running the roads of western Massachusetts.

This message was written in chalk on the sidewalk in front of our home.  I have no idea who left this message or whether it was intended for us or not.

This message was written in chalk on the sidewalk in front of our home. I have no idea who left this message or whether it was intended for us or not.

When one hears the term “heartbreak” spoken in context with the Boston Marathon their first thoughts will most likely be drawn to the series of hills that have made the Boston Marathon famous. Well, that all changed on April 15th, 2013.

Patriots Day, otherwise known as Marathon Monday has always been a day of celebration for the city of Boston. The Red Sox play an unusually early 11 am game at historic Fenway Park, and the Boston Marathon kicks off from Hopkinton and takes runners to Copley Plaza in the heart of the city. It is a day of joy, and fun, and a chance to celebrate the things that make Boston such a great city.

The Elite Women Start

The Elite Women start at the Boston Marathon

The Elite Women start at the Boston Marathon

I’m not going to extol you with all of the wonderful things to do in Boston. This is not an essay on running, or travel, or anything else. This is my venue to vent, and to ask how and why something like this senseless tragedy can happen. Those of you who know me here on HubPages know that I am passionate about travel and running. These two things make up a big part of my life along with my family. I am here to tell you that there is perhaps no other community in the world that combines these two passions better than the city of Boston.

And so, each April on Patriots Day, after another year of not qualifying to get into the Boston Marathon, I make the trek from western Massachusetts to Boston to lend support to family and friends who are running, and to all of the folks who have worked so hard and dedicated themselves to doing something positive. And now, a day that has always been about positive things in life has now turned into yet another senseless tragedy that has us shaking our heads and asking why? For the life of me I just do not understand what would motivate someone to fill two backpacks with bombs and blow them up at a marathon. Why? What kind of a person can plan this out and then actually follow through with it? Are there that many deranged people in the world that see no other course of action than to take the lives of innocent people? How many sad and tragic anniversaries do we need to celebrate? Was not 9/11, or 12/14, or 7/20 enough? Did we really need to add 4/15 to this list?

Celebration Turned to Tragedy

I am hopeful and confident that the Boston Marathon will continue to take place every year on Patriots Day. But it certainly will never be the same. I don’t know how race organizers will deal with this come next year’s race, and to be honest that really is the least of concerns at the moment. But if you can’t go outside to watch your family and friends running in a marathon on a beautiful spring day without worrying about being blown up then what does this say about the time that we are living in?

My trip to Boston this year was filled with great anticipation as my brother-in-law, a close friend of ours, and a close friend of our niece were all running. For the first time we actually ventured to the start area in Hopkinton to drop off our niece’s friend and we got to experience the pre-race excitement that abounds in the small community of Hopkinton. From here we journeyed to our normal viewing spot in Newton at the base of heartbreak hill and waited for our three runners, and the thousands of others to stream by. Who could have possibly known the true heartbreak that awaited everyone after conquering heartbreak hill?

While everyone that we knew who was running or watching is safe and back home, there are many others for whom this tragedy has turned into a real nightmare. From the three people killed, including an eight year old boy who had just high-fived his father who was running, to the folks whose injures will forever change their lives, I don’t see how the Boston Marathon can ever be the same.

I’m sure the Boston Marathon will prevail. If it doesn’t then the terrorists and the people who commit these acts get what they wanted. We can’t go through life looking over our shoulders wondering where and when the next senseless tragedy will take place. Our way of life may not be acceptable to others but this is certainly not a reason to kill and injure people. Can’t we just accept the fact that while we are all different, we are all still part of the same family, the one called the human race? Do we have to kill one another to get our point across?

If they run the Boston Marathon next year, which I’m sure they will, I will once again make the trek to Boston to support family, friends, and complete strangers. I am not going to let another senseless act of cowardice keep me from doing what I do. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to vent.

Wonderful Tribute to the victims of the Boston Marathon Bombing

The route from Hopkinton to Boston

© 2013 Bill De Giulio


Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on April 24, 2015:

Hi Julie. Thank you. It continues to amaze me how much violence there is in this world due simply to the fact that we are all different with different views and opinions on things. For those of us here in New England the Boston Marathon is one of those very special days. It's so unfortunate that when people talk about the marathon, even today, the topic of the bombing still comes up. Thanks so much for stopping by, have a great weekend.

Julie K Henderson on April 24, 2015:

This is a tough, worthwhile article. I remember how shocked and grieved I was when I heard about this tragedy. In addition, I can relate to your questions of why can't people accept that other people are different and let them be. Thank you for sharing. Voted up.

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Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on April 26, 2013:

Hi Carter. Thank you. You can bet I'll be there next year. It's amazing to me how the course of one's life can be so drastically altered in a heartbeat by such senseless acts. I don't think I'll ever understand why people do these things. Thank you for your thoughts. Have a great weekend.

Mary from Cronulla NSW on April 26, 2013:

Well done Bill!! When things like this happen it reminds me of just how precious each new day is & that life is truly a gift, right? why would anyone willingly cause such a tragedy??? who could possibly know??

Very glad that you and your family/friends are safe.. and you are def right to go again next year and the year after, and the year after that!!Will share this everywhere..Take care my friend..

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on April 25, 2013:

Hi Suzette. Thank you. Couldn't agree with you more. It is a sad time that we live in and I just don't know how these people can have so little regard for human life. I'm sure the Boston marathon will be bigger and better than ever come 2014. Many thanks.

Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on April 25, 2013:

What a wonderful article! I am so glad you wrote this and the photos are wonderful also. I don't understand it either. I don't understand how these guys could be so nonchalant and blasé, even attending school and parties afterward as if nothing was amiss. How can they have such little respect for human life? I believe they were brainwashed by terrorists as they have lived and grown up in the U.S. for ten or more years. How can they hate Americans so much? We are living in a sad, sad time in history to see these terrorists acts over and over again. It truly is guerrilla war. Thanks for your perspective of this great marathon and yes, it will go on.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on April 19, 2013:

Yes indeed. It's finally over. Thank You.

Kathryn from Windsor, Connecticut on April 19, 2013:

They captured the other guy!!! I'm sure you know this by now, but I am so incredibly happy about it.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on April 19, 2013:

Thank you everyone. The outpouring of comments and support is so good to see. It is yet another reason why I love this HubPages community. Today's developments are like something out of a movie, just unbelievable. Hopefully it all ends soon without anyone else getting hurt. I just hope that this is not a part of something larger and is limited to just these two individuals.

My thanks to everyone for keeping the victims of this senseless tragedy in your thoughts and prayers.

Subhas from New Delhi, India on April 19, 2013:

America is considered as the most safest and powerful democracy in this world and anything happening to it shatters the faith in all human beings all over the world and make them feel unsafe. We should always raise our spirit to help others and not even think to harm.

Catherine Taylor from Canada on April 19, 2013:

bdeguilio, this hub really helped put a personal spin on a tragic event for me and I thank you for that. I'm with you, it is absolutely heartbreaking that this happened, but you are right, the spirit of the Boston people and marathoners around the world will not be crushed by this senseless act of violence. Voted way up and shared.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on April 19, 2013:

I was hoping someone would write about this horrible bombing, and you did a great job with this one. I am still in shock over this and angry that two lunatics could do this. What is our world coming to??? I worry about the future of our children. Will they only know of soldiers guarding our everyday life??

Well done..I voted UP and will share.

Mary Craig from New York on April 19, 2013:

P.S. Voted up, useful, and interesting.

Mary Craig from New York on April 19, 2013:

Beautifully done Bill. The hearts and minds of the entire nation are with those who have suffered through this needless tragedy. What has this world come to when a few deranged citizens or not deranged, can wreak such havoc? How can lives be so unimportant to these people? I just can't understand.

I am so glad your family and friends are all fine, and grateful to the FBI for closing in on these two lunatics so quickly. God bless everyone in Boston as they now try to put their lives back together.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on April 19, 2013:

Such incidents need to be condemned outright and in the strongest words as you have done, Bill. You are very right that the show must go on to show these senseless people that the spirit can't be cowed down by such cowardly acts.

My prayers go out to all those affected by this tragedy.

Well done, my friend. Passing this on.

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on April 19, 2013:

I am like so many other people here, I don't understand how any human being can take innocent lives to prove a point. All that says to me is that they are cowards. They prey on unsuspecting men, women and children because they are afraid! They think they are proving some type of point, all they are doing is showing what evil cowards they really are! I have prayed many times for the people that were injured and killed and their families and friends, and will continue to do so. I hope they catch them both and give them the same treatment they handed out to others. Voting this up and awesome!

Kathryn from Windsor, Connecticut on April 19, 2013:

One man down, one to go! They both showed themselves last night/early morning in a crime spree, and now they are working hard to catch suspect #2. I hope they do it today.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on April 18, 2013:

This was such a horrible, cruel and tragic incident. I hope so much that the people who are responsible are found. I'm very glad that your family and friends are safe, Bill, and I'm glad that you are going to continue to support the event.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on April 18, 2013:

Thank you Dennis. I really appreciate your comments. Hopefully by this time tomorrow they have the two suspects in custody.

Dennis AuBuchon from Ohio on April 18, 2013:

This is a fantastic hub one which had all the right comments. I voted up, awesome along with tweeting and liking. Keep up the good writing.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on April 18, 2013:

Hi Bill. We are a resilient breed and we will get to the bottom of this. Whoever was behind this does not have many hours of freedom left on this earth.

BTW, I like your profile, especially the marathon in under 3 hours :)

My ties to Boston go back to my days as a child when my parents and grandparents would take us to the Common to ride the Duck Boats. It's a great city and it will bounce back. Thanks for stopping by.

Bill Russo from Cape Cod on April 18, 2013:

As a student in Boston in the 1960s, I have strong ties to the city. From Blinstrubs' Village, to Scollay Square, Southie, the North End, to Columbus Ave where I discovered ribs; I love the Hub.

It's a sad fact that we (the U.S.) have millions of people who hate us - many of them are on Hubpages.

Today, President Barack Obama came to our town and delivered one of the greatest orations I have ever heard. I was proud of Boston, our nation and our President.

To those who hate us. You scorn us. You think we live in candy land and are soft. You think your cowardly sneak attacks will make us fold up like an umbrella. Think again. If we back up when you bomb is.....we are not really backing up........we are coiling!!!!! We are just getting ready to strike. Read the history of this planet from about 1940 on. Lots of dictators and madmen underestimated us. We buried the underestimators and we will bury you.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on April 18, 2013:

Thanks jpcmc. Very much appreciate the sentiment.

JP Carlos from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on April 18, 2013:

In the face of challenges we must move forward and strive to become better. This atrocity will leave a mark. But I'm sure, it is a mark that will make everyone stronger. My heart goes out to all victims.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on April 18, 2013:

Thank you Kathryn. I know you also hail from Boston. It's so sad that this great city is going through this. I was just watching the news and it looks like they have photos of those responsible. Hopefully they are in custody soon.

Kathryn from Windsor, Connecticut on April 18, 2013:

I'm so glad your family is fine, despite being pretty close.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on April 18, 2013:

My sincere thanks to everyone for your thoughtful comments. I still can't get over the fact that this has happened, how sad. I did not write about this, but my sister and nephew were in the grand stands directly across the street from where the first bomb went off. My brother in-law was just 2 minutes from turning onto Boylston Street and the location of the second bomb. Needless to say we were frantic trying to get a hold of them to make sure they were safe and getting out of the city.

You can bet your boots that I will continue to try to qualify to run in the Boston Marathon and will do so with much more vigor just to prove that these terrorists will not win. And if I can't run in the race, then I will be there once again to root everyone on.

My thanks again to everyone. Peace to you all.

Kathryn from Windsor, Connecticut on April 18, 2013:

It's great to vent. It's a tragedy that such a beautiful, exciting day could turn so deadly. But I am glad that you, and others. will keep the tradition of going to the Marathon alive, even after the coward ruined it for a lot of people.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on April 18, 2013:

Excellent job, Bill, and I agree that life goes on. We do not change our lives because of random acts of inhumanity....the best way to react is to get up off the ground and live our lives free of fear.

Hawaiian Odysseus from Southeast Washington state on April 18, 2013:

Bill, I'm clear over on the other coast, and I want you to know the vibrations of those bomb blasts painfully reverberate in this vicinity, too. Thank you for writing this powerful piece. We peers know that you are a peacemaker citizen and that your articles have brought wondrous oohs and aahs as we feel motivated to travel or exercise. This particular literary endeavor of yours, while primarily intended as a cathartic venting, ends up being a powerful and patriotic appeal for peace and a memorial tribute to the young boy with the eternal high five and the others who lost their lives while living life to the fullest. Voted up, awesome, useful, beautiful, and interesting...and shared! Aloha, Bill, and know that I'm doing what the chalk writer suggested. Joe

carol stanley from Arizona on April 18, 2013:

To me this is another incident that occurred...that is changing some of the peacefulness and safety that we have felt. It seems to be building..not only in schools but all around us. No longer an unusual incident. I can imagine how people living in Boston must feel. However we all feel badly ..Marathons are a part of our life..and now no one will feel safe entering in them. Good job with lots of feelings and caring.

Suzanne Ridgeway from Dublin, Ireland on April 18, 2013:

Hi Bill,

A beautifully written essay about something that has touched the lives of us all. Watching the news on the internet, I could not believe what was happening. My thoughts were with you, the runners, spectators and people of Boston at this senseless act.

anndango on April 17, 2013:

You've articulated what so many feel. We are all asking 'why'. I'm so sorry that this senseless act has fallen upon such an iconic and historical and peaceful event. As a Canadian, my heart and thoughts are with you all.

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