, Newburyport, MA

April 18, 2013

Amid chaos, courage and compassion shines through

Newburyport Daily News

---- — Among the more inspiring stories to emerge from the horror of the Boston Marathon bombing have been those that tell of the heroic actions of those who responded to the blasts.

We are proud to hear of three Newburyport residents — Dixie Harrington, Courtney Luck and Dr. Jennifer Finch — who sprinted from their medical assignments in the finish line medical tent to come to the aid of victims. The scene of suffering and trauma was unlike anything they had ever seen. Their instinct to help and save lives guided them through. There is no doubt that their actions, and the actions of hundreds of other volunteers, saved lives.

Those stories, as well as the outpouring of support Bostonians and New Englanders have received from around the nation and the world, give us confidence that, while we are still reeling from Monday’s tragedy, goodness ultimately triumphs over evil.

The marathon bombing may well have been the most photographed terror attack in history. Thousands of photographers, both amateur and professional, were on hand recording videos and taking still images of the runners as they finished the race. They documented the explosions and their aftermath from virtually every angle. Many of those videos and images have been published or posted to the Internet.

The common theme running through them all is the great number of people running toward the locations of the blasts. Many of these, of course, were professional first responders — police, firefighters, paramedics, EMTs, doctors and nurses. Others were ordinary citizens — spectators and runners — who rushed to help comfort the injured.

The scene immediately following the explosions was complete chaos. It was unclear whether more blasts would follow or what further mayhem might ensue. Yet people saw that there were many injured, some severely, and they moved in to help.

This is heroism, pure and simple. It is doing what must be done, without regard to one’s personal safety.

President Obama recognized this heroism in a news conference yesterday.

“The American people refused to be terrorized,” the president said. “ ... So, if you want to know who we are, what America is, how we respond to evil — that’s it. Selflessly. Compassionately. Unafraid.”

That selflessness and compassion were evident from the moment the day’s celebration turned to tragedy. Runners still on the course headed to city hospitals offering to donate blood. Boston residents used the Internet to offer their homes and apartments to those stranded and needing a place to stay.

The comment sections of stories about the marathon bombing in newspapers around the country and abroad were filled with sympathy and well wishes for the people of Boston. At sporting events Monday night, players and fans, even from usually bitter rivals, paid tribute with moments of silence.

The Chicago Tribune’s sports section Tuesday posted a wonderful message of support to Boston sports teams and their fans. And Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium, fans sang Fenway favorite “Sweet Caroline” as a token of solidarity.

We are grateful for all these gestures of support, large and small. We are thankful for the courage, skill and quick reactions of those who responded at the scene of the bombing.

And most of all, we are proud to call all of you our friends and neighbors.