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The Roar of Quiet Heroes

On April 15, at 2:49 p.m. eastern, in Boston amid the horrific chaos and tragedy caused by the incomprehensible acts of two individuals, countless quiet heroes not only emerged – they surrounded the Boylston Street area with a cloak of indestructible acts of bravery and compassion.

No flashy red capes or superpower welding wrist bands were worn by the unsung heroes of Patriots Day 2013. Tee-shirts, cowboy hats, running shoes, military fatigues and blue jeans were their attire. Not one hero held an invincibility shield, but many held signs of encouragement as they lined the streets cheering the runners making their way to the fi nish line.

As the bomb blast dust cleared, they appeared from the crowd – hundreds of them. All ages, untrained, trained, runners, spectators, first-responders, parents, children, grandparents, spouses, strangers – all responding in answering the innate call “to help” someone, anyone.

The runners who ripped their shirts off their own backs to make tourniquets for the injured; the spectators who carried the injured to the nearest medical station; the military members who immediately started canvassing the area for more explosives; the teenagers who held the hands of the injured and terrified the countless Boston restaurant owners who opened their doors for free meals; the myriad of volunteers who sat with the families of the injured providing words of comfort; the Bostonians who offered temporary lodging and clean clothes to stranded marathon participants; the marathoners who continued running to Mass General to give blood to help the injured; and the trained medical teams and law enforcement offi cers who worked tirelessly to heal, serve and protect.

Due to social media and 24/7 news some of the heroes were identified. Yet, there are hundreds whose faces and names we will never know, although the impact of their actions will be felt for a lifetime by someone.

The late Fred Rogers – the beloved “Mr. Rogers” – once said: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always fi nd people who are helping.’” His mom was so right. For we not only saw the heroes on April 15, we heard the quiet roar of their reassuring words, running footsteps rushing someone to safety, and beating of benevolent hearts.

Amid the tragedy and chaos on that day in Boston, the world witnessed the trumping of destruction by the immeasurable acts of bravery, assistance and love given without a moment’s hesitation.

The roar of the countless, quiet, selfless heroes rang out louder and longer on that day than the explosion of two bombs. Debbie Henry is executive director of The TMA Group, and associate director of Leadership Franklin.

Posted on: 5/3/2013


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