In 2013 I ran my third Boston Marathon. Well, to be accurate, I ran 25.7 miles of the course that year. With just a half mile to go, the sea of people in front of me...stopped. It was total confusion for a few minutes until spectators started getting updates that there had been an explosion near the finish line. Early reports were a transformer blew up. I was annoyed, it was going to be my second fastest finishing time ever! Then people on the sidelines updated the runners that it might be a terrorist attack.
My daughter and her girlfriend were running that year, too. I knew they were behind me, so I wasn't too worried. My younger daughter had talked about meeting us at the finish line. Thankfully, she'd decided to watch the race from home. I managed to get a hold of both of them, then my wife, to let everyone know we were all okay. Then cell phones stopped working.
We learned later that the towers had blocked calls as there was the potential that cell phones had been used as detonators for the explosives. I met up with my daughter and we began the long walk back to her apartment where I'd parked my car. The rest, as they say, is history.
Why am I bringing all this up now? Because it's been ten years (hard to fathom!) and Netflix aired American Manhunt: The Boston Marathon Bombing, a three-episode series that documents the event and its aftermath.
For the days that followed, I was glued to the news, obsessively following coverage as new updates were released. After the murder of the MIT officer and the shoot-out that followed, I'm not sure I left the living room until the second Tsarnaev brother was captured.
For all the news I watched, I had never really seen footage of the explosions. The Netflix documentary is as thorough as it is riveting, but it is not an easy watch. As gruesome and terrifying as the footage is, there's a part of me that wishes I was at the finish line to help in some way. It sounds foolish when I write it down, but it's true.
There was a lot about that week I had forgotten, and a lot of details I never knew. Watching it unfold as it happened was one thing, but watching the documentary made me realize just how many things fell into place for law enforcement to ultimately identify those assholes and capture one of them.
I recommend the series highly, but with the caveat that it is not for the faint of heart. Even though I've since moved to Arizona, the Boston area was my home for over fifty years. In the words of Big Papi, "this is our fucking city!"