By Ken Lizotte
I left Fenway Park this past Monday at 2 PM following a Red Sox bottom-of-the-ninth victory over Tampa Bay and immediately encountered thousands upon thousands of Boston Marathon runners plodding their way through Kenmore Square toward the finish line. Thousands more had come through there before them and thousands more were still huffing and on their way.
Such ambition, such grace, such fortitude. It was a glorious Patriots’ Day rite of spring.
I made my way through the slow-crawling sidewalk crowds toward the finish line so I could take some pictures. Meanwhile, I took preliminary pix along the way. Two traffic cops joked about their assignment: “Ya gotta know what you’re good at!” Fans along the route held up homemade signs. Others yelled encouragement to friends and strangers alike. “Only one half-mile to go!”
I reached Boylston Street and could see past the runners to the finish itself, just a few hundred yards away. Then all at once, a loud boom. 12 seconds later, another. Did some large heavy object fall? Did a firework go off? A gas explosion?
I thought about heading down there to see but a policeman suddenly rolled a barrier out in front of the runners who had just turned the corner, gesturing at them all to turn back. Another cop, a lieutenant, careened up in a squad car, then jumped out and shouted at the other officers there to “get these people out of here. Evacuate, evacuate!” In an instant, thousands of onlookers all around me were herded far away from the scene.
Not until an hour later did I learn what had happened. Cell service had been shut down throughout the city as ambulance trucks screamed their way toward Boston hospitals, one after another, in fast caravans. It soon became obvious what probably had happened though no one in this confused, chaotic crowd wanted to believe the worst.
We were of course the lucky ones, the safe ones. Those at the actual finish line were not.
So our thoughts go out to them and their families on this sad aftermath of a Boston Marathon that can never be forgot.