“We have to go, we have to go…”

By Heather Hamacek
BU News Service
I had just stepped inside an acquaintance’s apartment on Boylston Street after several hours of watching runners in the Boston Marathon. I heard clapping, whistling, and cheers, then an unfamiliar sound. It was faint, but stood out because I knew it didn’t belong.

My friend grabbed my arm and pulled me from the apartment.

“We have to go, we have to go,” he kept repeating. I was confused, and he didn’t know much more than I did. We walked as fast as we could on Boylston toward Bay State Road, close to where I live on Boston University’s campus.

At 3:16 p.m., I received a text from my friend: “WHERE ARE YOU! Do not go towards the finish line!!!”

I responded, “Where are you?”

She texted, “I’m on Bay State, but there was an explosion at the finish line and there might be more. DO NOT go toward the finish line.”

I texted back, “Ok, I’m on Bay State. What the **** happened?”

We met a group of our friends at 100 Bay State, a dining center, and found out one of our friends was missing. Our friend had jumped into the marathon and was heading toward the finish line the last time we saw him.

Cell phone service was down and we hadn’t been able to get in contact with him. Sitting at a table close together, we had to wait because police were blockading the area.

When we finally heard from our missing friend, relief washed over me. My relief was short lived because I later learned that three people had died, and more than 100 were injured. I couldn’t understand what had happened and why.

I retreated to the common room of the student residence hall at 575 Commonwealth Avenue. The TVs were turned to a news station, many students as well as adults sat staring transfixed at the images of the explosion footage on the screen. We saw video of bloodied victims. They kept re-showing a scene where a bomb goes off and a runner falls to the ground, then the camera zoomed in on a man running with a stroller.

“Do you mind if I turn it up?” a woman asked me.

“Not at all, please do,” I said. I hadn’t even noticed the television was silent until that moment. I could hear sirens outside.

I watched the news until after President Obama’s statement. I couldn’t handle anymore after that. My friend wrapped me in a blanket and we walked outside to the Charles River Esplanade.

With our backs turned to where the bombs had gone off only three hours before, we sat, faced the river and watched runners on the other side.
Heather Hamacek, a COM sophomore, wrote this for her JO250 Fundamentals of Journalism class.

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