Finishers-medalWhile contemplating the depth and breath of the criminal act of yesterdays bombing and while quietly weeping over the deaths and the maimings it is difficult to find good stories, uplifting stories about normal people doing extraordinary quiet things in the background. As Mr. Rogers used to say about horrible images on the news “Look for the helpers. You’ll always find people who are helping”  and yes we do find the helpers. These are the quiet behind the scenes out of the camera’s eye kind of helpers. Below are a few stories gleaned from the Huffington Post about some of them.

“The video that the news is repeatedly showing of the blast depicts a wide array of reactions. Some flee, some stand bewildered, and some run to the scene of the crime. If there is any manifestation of bravery and what it looks like in action – it is of citizens and first responders running directly to the site of a bombing to help people….America truly does shine on days like today. I witnessed cops and fireman rush to the scene without a thought in their head about their own safety. The National Guard leapt into action to establish security. What a remarkable example of the selfless spirit of America that the act of one or even multiple self crazed, hopelessly infantile lunatics can never stamp out the shining resiliency of our people.

The cops did an amazing job of barricading the area of the blast and rushing us away. I saw a few injured folks, but the first responders had already taken care of most of them. The national guard was already on site, but the speed with which they set up a permitter and ushered civilians away was incredible. Within minutes SWAT cars, undercover cars, firetrucks – everything, they all came racing down the street.

I will remember a great deal about this day. Just like 9/11, I will remember exactly where I was when I heard the news. I will remember my feelings, my reaction, my surroundings, my disbelief. I will recall how my world, particularly my perception of it, was shattered. What I will remember most though is awe. Awe of the fragility of life, of the cruelty of humans, but mostly of our ability to overcome this cruelty – to conquer it with selflessness and love.

Bombings like the one today will change us, as they should. But there are certain things that these bombings cannot change. Knowing this will carry me through this time, as I believe it carries us through all dark times.”-(Sean Gallagher who was on Clarendon Street, two blocks from the explosions)

“I was 1/2 mile from the finish line when the explosion went off. I had no idea what was going on until I finally stopped and asked someone. Knowing that my family was at the finish line waiting for me, I started panicking, trying to call them. Diverted away from the finish line, I started walking down Mass Ave towards Symphony Hall still not knowing where my family was. Right before the intersection of Huntington, I was able to get in touch with Bryan and found out he was with my family and they were safe. I was just so happy to hear his voice that I sat down and started crying. Just couldn’t hold it back. At that moment, a couple walking by stopped. The woman took the space tent off her husband, who had finished the marathon, and wrapped it around me. She asked me if I was okay, if I knew where my family was. I reassured her I knew where they were and I would be ok. The man then asked me if I finished, to which I nodded “no.” He then proceeded to take the medal off from around his neck and placed it around mine. He told me, “You are a finisher in my eyes.” I was barely able to choke out a “thank you” between my tears.

Odds are I will never see this couple again, but I’m reaching out with the slim chance that I will be able to express to them just what this gesture meant to me. I was so in need of a familiar face at that point in time. This couple reassured me that even though such a terrible thing had happened, everything was going to be ok.” (Laura Wellington, who ran in the marathon)

“Dozens of residents have offered their homes to runners stranded in Boston.

Joshua Dawson, a Democratic candidate for state representative in Massachusetts, took in three students, HuffPost’s Christina Wilkie reports.”

“Boston is on lockdown, but everyone’s just being good neighbors and welcoming people into their homes,” Dawson said.

We are Americans and so it goes…