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Marathon bombing day of terror was the luckiest day of my life

My daughter Katie started sprinting, so excited that she was about to finish her first Boston Marathon. I had been running with her, but my legs were too tired for me to keep up. Just a minute earlier, we had paused for a few seconds to say hi to Marissa and her family. Marissa is a young girl battling Leukemia, and Katie was running to raise money in Marissa’s honor for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Katie had her hands raised in the air to celebrate her achievement when the first bomb went off right in front of her.

The force of the explosion knocked her off her feet. Terrified, she ran back towards me, and then the second bomb went off right in between us. There was so much smoke we couldn’t see each other. The police officers stopped all the runners so I couldn’t get to her, and she was trapped between the two explosions. Talk about panic. Neither of us knew if the other had survived. Her mother and aunt, and a group of her friends were watching and we didn’t know if they were OK. And how many more bombs would go off?

Fifteen minutes went by before we were able to make contact on our cell phones and I told her to go to the Marriott. When I found her there, she was trembling, scared, dazed and confused. A few minutes later her mother and aunt found us, and we somehow found our way out of the city by walking 3 miles to the nearest operating MBTA station.

I can’t believe it was two years ago today that those bombs went off. When I think back on that day, I recall the terror my family went through, but I also think about how it was one of the luckiest days of my life. Too many victims and families are still dealing with far worse consequences than what we endured. Our only injuries were some tiny shards in Katie’s leg. Had we not paused to say hi to Marissa, we both would have been right next to the bomb explosions. So many slight changes of events could have made things far worse. I feel gratitude.

Katie is in college in South Carolina, but I will be back out on the marathon course this Monday. If you happen to be out there, or hear about the marathon in the news, stop for a moment and not only remember the victims, but think about something good that has come out of this tragic day.

Share your thoughts about how the marathon bombings impacted your life or thinking in the comments below.

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