Today the Boston Marathon ran for the 118th year. An American man, Meb Keflezighi, won the men’s division for the first time since 1983. Rita Jeptoo of Kenya won for the third time in the women’s field. It is another regular Patriots’ Day, commemorating the battles of Lexington and Concord; or, as it’s known in Massachusetts, and in Boston specifically, Marathon Monday: an extra holiday in April when people can enjoy springtime and the triumph of human perseverance.
A little over a year ago, there was a bombing at the 2013 Boston Marathon. The blasts killed three people and injured over 260. It was an act of terrorism that shook up the city and led to a five-day manhunt to find the perpetrators. I’m a Boston native and my family still lives there. Boston is a very small town and this attack affected the whole community, keeping us afraid for the greater part of a week. Everybody knew someone who dealt with the trauma in some way. It still reverberates. In February, on a routine trip to the hospital, I met my mother’s doctor and we got to talking. We found out that he was a marathoner who was there when the bombs went off, he was a first responder, and the pain was still intense. We saw people in the halls walking on new limbs.
These bombings may have been one of the world events that really showed the limitation of the Internet and the way that it gives an audience 24-hour information. Some places, like Reddit, went on their own misguided hunt for the bombers. Other media, like the New York Post, put innocent marathon runners on the cover and ID’d them as the possible perpetrators. But other outlets, The Boston Globe in particular, who won a well deserved Pulitzer Prize for their work, produced vital journalism about the event and its ripples outward. I wanted to take a chance to highlight some of the must-read articles that have been written in the wake of this tragedy. There are a lot of everyday heroes that are continuing and surviving, one year on.
The Boston Globe: The paper of record in New England’s coverage has been the definitive source on this event, winning a 2014 Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News Reporting. These five articles are barely the tip of the iceberg, but be forewarned, the Globe’s paywall comes up very quickly after clicking on ten articles. Perhaps it’s worth the investment for access.
1. This page links to all of their articles on the bombing and its aftermath.
2. “102 Hours in Pursuit of Marathon Suspects“: How Boston found the Tsarnaev brothers.
3. “Carjacking Victim Describes Harrowing Night“: The first interview with “Danny,” the hero who outwitted the Tsarnaevs, leading to the brothers’ eventual confrontation with the police. An update on Danny’s life, one year later.
4. “The Boston Public Library Wasn’t the Target — What Was Inside Was“: Author Dennis Lehane on what the attack said about the pursuit of knowledge in today’s world.
5. “Marathon Bombing Victim Builds on Her Recovery“: The story of how 19 year-old Gillian Reny has recovered after the bombing and the rehabilitation of her mangled right leg.
In GQ, “The Finish Line“: This piece by Sean Flynn is a thorough look at how Boston reacted to the bombs, how lives were saved, and the stories of people who ran towards the violence, in particular, focusing on the men in one of the iconic photos of the event: Jeff Bauman and Carlos Arredondo, the “man in the cowboy hat” who saved the young man’s life. The piece also talks about how Jeff Bauman identified the bombing suspects in the middle of fighting for his life. Bauman’s memoir of survial, Stronger, was released earlier this month.
In South Florida Sun Sentinel, “Fame in a Flash“: An in-depth look at the sometimes tragic and moving life story of Carlos Arredondo, “the man in the cowboy hat,” how he got to be at the Marathon, helping the victims, and his life afterwards.
In Rolling Stone, “Jahar’s World“: While this article on the surviving Tsarnaev brother, Jahar, elicited controversy with its too soon and too attractive cover featuring a selfie taken by the young man, it’s still a necessary, vital article that’s scarily mundane in its details about how a lost kid became one of the marathon bombers. Author Janet Reitman has a short essay here about the reaction she dealt with from the piece.
In The New York Times, “A Year After the Boston Marathon Bombings, Injured Brothers Endure“: The Norden brothers were construction workers who each lost a leg in the attacks. Their lives have been irrevocably altered, and their journey is equal parts complicated and inspirational.