Managing Executive Editor
The names of the victims of the Boston Marathon and the ensuing manhunt are as follows: 23-year-old Lu Lingzi, a Boston University graduate student, eight-year-old Martin Richard, 29-year-old Krystle Campbell of Medford, MA and MIT police officer Sean Collier, 27-years-old. At 2:50 p.m. on Monday, April 14, two bombs went off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, around the average finish time of four hours after the start of the race in Hopkinton, MA. Various services have been held to honor the victims of the tragedy, according to the Boston Globe. Each will be remembered in their own way.
The Globe reported that Collier, the slain MIT officer, was an incredibly kind spirit, according to his brother Andrew. He noted that after someone in their house caught an ant, Collier would insist it be freed outside and not killed.
According to CBS, the service at Boston University remembered Lingzi as an extremely driven and bright student. Her father noted how much laughter she brought into his life.
According to the Boston Herald, the service for Campbell was held at St. Joseph’s Church in Medford, where more than a thousand people were in attendance to remember Campbell’s energetic personality.
The last victim of the tragedy was eight-year-old Martin Richard. The Washington Post reported Martin loved to play with his siblings or play in his yard. His mother said she would frequently take him and his siblings for walks around the neighborhood.
While Keene State College is a little over two hours away from Boston, the ripple effect from the loss of the victims in addition to the nearly 200 people who were injured still resonated in a powerful way.
At 2:50 p.m. on Monday, April 22, the normally loud and bustling KSC campus fell silent. Suddenly, the mournful notes of one trumpet off in the distance playing taps rang out into the still air. At 3:00 p.m., the hundreds of KSC community members listened to the bells chiming, simultaneously marking the new hour of the day but also as a way of remembering and honoring the victims of the tragedy. Music department faculty member Diane Cushing led to the KSC concert choir in the singing of the national anthem.
Interim President Jay Kahn acknowledged the connections the KSC community had to the tragedy as well as the importance of honoring the victims of the tragedy.
“This Boston Marathon has certainly affected and touched people in this community. There was senseless death and violence not too far away. We all had some connection to the Boston Marathon, I suspect,” Kahn said. In addition, Kahn noted there were seven KSC faculty members and five senior athletic training students directly affected by the bombings because they witnessed it firsthand. The Director of the Athletic Training program, Dr. Wanda Swiger and athletic trainer and instructor Scot Ward were the two faculty members who brought some students down to the Marathon in order to provide service in the support tents after the race.
“They were there witnessing the bombing, the carnage, and the kind of chaos that took place afterwards,” Kahn said. “They held their ground and were support to the medical teams that were assisting those injuries resulting from the bombing.”
In addition to the seven athletic training faculty and students, Vice President of Student Affairs, Andy Robinson, said the ripple effect of the tragedy goes well beyond what we can immediately see.
“Runners, relatives of runners, and friends of runners here could have been impacted. The ripple effect for something like this is quite incredible. Some students may have relatives who were injured. It goes beyond what we know,” he said.
Charlie St. Cyr, a KSC alum who graduated in 1993, was a participant in the race. However, he had finished the race and was having lunch a few blocks away from the explosions when it happened.
“Most of my friends had crossed the finish line before it happened, but one of my friends, Laura, was collecting her medal when it happened, her ears were still ringing four hours later,” he said. Spoken to on the day of bombings, St. Cyr asked if the members of the KSC community that he had seen throughout the day had all made it out okay, noting that he had seen some athletes in KSC sweatshirts at the start of the race.
“We’ve been so sickened by the coverage. I was just taking a picture of myself on the finish line the day before and to imagine it happened right where I was. I had such a positive experience with my family, we don’t want to make ourselves more sick,” he said. Having not seen any television coverage whatsoever, St. Cyr said he didn’t even know the amount of deaths and injuries from the blasts.
“I’m worried thinking about the people who were at the finish. Those faces could have been one of those injured,” he said. “Some people weren’t even allowed to finish. I don’t even know how they can combat this in the future. It makes you not want to attend such a big event.”
St. Cyr also noted that the blast happened around the average finish time in order to impact the most people. Statistically, most people were crossing the line at that point.
“I don’t know how to process it,” St. Cyr said. “I think of the 20,000 people who qualify for this event. This was my first year. It’s such a mix of emotions. It was one of the most glorious moments of my life crossing the finish line, but this had to happen.”
A KSC student and Marathon runner who wished to remain unnamed, said she finished the race a mere half hour before the bomb went off. She had been training for the marathon since January. “I got my bag from the bus, walked back down Boylston St. towards the finish and onto Stuart St. to meet your family. I just found my family when the first bomb went off and the second one was really soon after,” she said.
The runner said she was close enough to feel the ground shake and see the buildings around her shake.
“We knew it was bad, we started running down the street. I tried, I was in a lot of pain at that point. We got to an intersection and just saw chaos. We saw police and first responders running all over the place,” she said. Moments after, her father said they had to get off the street.
After running into one building that was being evacuated, running onto a bridge connecting one building to a mall, and then ending up in the Hilton Hotel, where they stayed for three to four hours.
“Eventually, my dad went outside and spoke to a cop, and the cop said Mass. Ave was open and he said, ‘You didn’t hear that I suggested it, but if I were you, I’d get out of here,’” she said. After sneaking into the parking garage, they were able to get in their car and leave.
While the runner had an earlier release time than some of her friends, she said while her family was running around, she was concerned about her friends because she didn’t know about their whereabouts.
“We didn’t know they shut down the cell service, so we received his voicemail. We assumed the worst,” she said. After getting confirmation that her friends were fine, the student said many Marathon runners had their run cut short before they turned down Boylston St. towards the finish line. The runner said once she finished, around the three and a half hour mark, she felt the need to see her family.
“After I got my bag, I felt a need to run to my family. If I hadn’t of done that, I wouldn’t have been with them when the bombs went off. I didn’t have my phone, it would’ve been really chaotic,” she said. “I could’ve easily seen it happen. I’m glad I didn’t see it.”
Lastly, the runner noted how her accomplishment is not even what she remembers from the day. “The Marathon is supposed to be this really happy day, the streets are crammed on both sides, everyone is screaming and roaring,” she said. “It’s totally crazy to me that something so terrible could happen on a day that is supposed to be so happy.”
Dr. Wanda Swiger, the head of the KSC athletic training program, who was one of the faculty members present at the marathon, declined an interview.
However, she offered a statement to the KSC community of what she would like others to know. In an email, she wrote, “Keene State College should be very proud of the selfless actions of its members. As true allied health care providers, faculty and students began treating runners and spectators that were injured from the blasts.”
Dr. Swiger explained the capacity in which she and other athletic training faculty and students were at the Marathon. “This year, one faculty member was assigned to the medical tent, while one was designated to the finishing line area. Three students were in the zone between Medical tent A and the finishing line; while two students were assigned the area between Medical tent A and Medical tent B,” she wrote.
However, their part in the day changed drastically once the bombs went off.
The need for medical attention and first responders for the exhausted runners turned from much needed to completely life saving for the victims of the blasts.
“The true heroes are the survivors from the blasts and the family members of the those that died. It will take true courage to get through the months and years to come. As for our Keene State College Athletic Training family, we are all happy to be reunited with family, friends, and mentors,” she wrote. Scot Ward, the other athletic training faculty member who accompanied the students to the Marathon, also declined a request for an interview.
However, while the physical wounds of the bombings still remain, the psychological effects will have a lasting impact, not only on those directly affected, but those who were more distantly touched by the tragedy.
“It could have been me, my friend. It’s the idea that makes us uncomfortable, that this could happen anywhere. We’re vulnerable,” Robinson said. “I think the message is to take care of each other, even beyond times of tragedy. We need to value our friends and our family.”
While the tragedy hit close to home for the KSC community, the tragedy doesn’t hit quite as hard as it does for the families of those injured and those who died on the day of the Boston Marathon. Interim President Kahn took a few moments to praise the efforts of the first responders and police officers who were at the scene and worked tirelessly to ensure those injured received life saving medical care, by running to the scene of the bomb blasts instead of running away. Many bystanders also jumped in to do what they could, such as former Patriot Joe Andruzzi who was photographed carrying a woman to safety, to the reports of Marathon runners who finished the race but kept on running to Mass General to give blood for the victims.
During the moment of silence gathering on the Fiske Quad, Robinson noted that social media plays a large part in supporting the people affected by this tragedy because it brings everyone closer together. In addition to donations that can be made online, Robinson emphasized the connection everyone in the country has and the importance of helping those in need when possible. Even though the bomb blast resulted in destruction and death, it also showed how people could come together and help each other when it was needed most.