Just over a week ago – at approximately 2:50 P.M. on Monday – two bombs exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
Elon University has 483 students from the state of Massachusetts, and Elon Professor Jeremy Tessem ran in the Boston Marathon.
“I finished the race about 45 minutes before the first bomb exploded,” Tessem said. “We were back on the race course at the corner of Dalton and Boylston Street when the first bomb exploded. The first thing we saw were the spectators running around the corner to get off of Boylston street. It reminded me of the YouTube videos of people running away from the bulls in Pampalona.”
Andrew King, a student at Suffolk University, was downtown with a friend when the explosions happened.
“Boston was a rush with tears, sirens and blood,” King said, who was only 50 yards from the second explosion. “The police were on the scene in moments and ushering people into the Prudential Building. What we saw looked like it was out of a post-apocalyptic movie.”
What followed the explosions was a weeklong manhunt for two suspects, who were brothers, which ended with one suspect dead and the other in custody in critical condition.
After King and his friend figured out what was happening, they decided to leave the area to get to safety.
“The streets surrounding the scene were packed,” King said. “People, police, runners, and EMTs were everywhere. We made our way back to Copley Square, where the first bomb went off, and we walked down the empty street and watched the chaos on the sidewalks. The only information available was that 2 bombs had exploded at the Boston Marathon.”
To stay updated on what was happening, King stayed on Twitter and Facebook to gather information and to inform his friends and family about what was going on.
The days following the explosions were silent, according to King, and the entire city was empty.
“Friday, the city shut down,” King said. “No one was allowed out on the streets. All efforts were focused on Watertown, where, all through the night, police had been hunting the suspects. Boston was as close to martial law as could be without White House sanction. Massive military vehicles were in the streets and at every major building and intersection.”
Boston stayed like this until the suspect was captured, King said, but once he was brought into custody the entire city celebrated.
“I was in the Boston Common where college kids from all over the city came, and within an hour 500 people came together at the gazebo to wave flags and sing Boston classics,” King said. “'Boston Strong' rang through the streets. Boston Police Department was called to the Common where they were welcomed with applause, cheers, and thank you’s. Everywhere there was an officer, there was also a line of people waiting to shake their hand and thank them. It was a beautiful scene of community and fellowship.”