As is tradition on the third Monday every April, thousands of Bostonians and Boston visitors took the day off to celebrate Patriot's Day.
On paper, Patriot's Day serves as a tribute to the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the first two battles of the Revolutionary War, but above and beyond that the holiday serves as a dawning of spring in the frigid Northeast, celebrated every year with a Red Sox home game in the late morning and the running of the Boston Marathon throughout the day.
However, after yesterday afternoon, for the foreseeable future and probably forever, Patriot's Day will serve as a reminder of the newer, ongoing war against terror because around 2:50 p.m. Boston time, two bombs exploded within seconds of each other near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
As of this typing late Monday night, three people have been pronounced dead and over 140 injured, 17 in critical condition and 25 in serious condition, as a result of the attack. According to state law enforcement, one of the dead is an 8 year old boy. At least 10 people injured had limbs amputated, according to a terrorism expert briefed on the incident.
Doctors were spending Monday night literally "pulling ball bearings out of people," indicating that the bombs were loaded with these objects and were designed to propel shrapnel.
In Washington, President Obama assured Americans that the perpetrators would feel the "full weight of justice."
As we gain a clearer tabulation of the exact number of victims and try to fully understand the toll these actions have taken, we get another depressing reminder that in 2013, nowhere is safe from the insidious reach of evil. Not a movie theater in Aurora, not a Connecticut elementary school classroom, not the finish line grandstand at the Boston Marathon.
Anyone who grew up within a couple hours of Boston probably knows someone who ran yesterday, or has a marathon related story. I grew up in Connecticut about 90 minutes from where the bombs exploded Monday, and have been to about a half dozen Boston Marathons myself.
Upon hearing the news, I immediately texted my father and two brothers, all of whom spend varying amounts of time in Boston. I knew the odds were slim they would be up there Monday, and thankfully none of them were. (Although admittedly, I haven't heard back from my brother Kevin, but my other brother Ryan reminded me that Kevin is so tech averse that I'd have a better chance of getting a postcard indicating his safety than a return text. Good point.)
My dad has actually run the marathon on three separate occasions, the last of which was in 1993 as a tribute to my mother who had passed away about three months prior from breast cancer at age 46. As you can imagine, every year a vast portion of the runners are using the race as a platform to pay tribute to someone or something.
My dad pointed out to me yesterday that the clock at the finish line read four hours and nine minutes at the time of the two blasts. This was his finishing time in 1993.
Thankfully, as far as a I know, my father's "if this had happened 20 years ago" coincidence is as poignant a personal story as I'll have regarding what transpired Monday. Others, thousands of others, aren't so lucky.
I truly believe that most people, and I mean all but a small fraction of a percent, are good people. I really do. Sure, everyone has their flaws and some of these "good people" do or say things on occasion (maybe frequently) they probably regret, but I really feel that in a life or death situation like we saw on Monday afternoon, the "default switch" for most human beings is to do the right thing, to help, by any means necessary.
The other deplorable, heartless fraction of one percent? Well, for now they won whatever warped battle it is they were trying to win Monday afternoon, employing their usual tactics -- cowardly, explosive sneak attacks on defenseless civilians, killing some, injuring several more, and frightening millions.
We've all seen enough of the images from Monday afternoon -- the blood, the tears, the smoke, the carnage -- and seeing that was certainly an unfortunate but necessary part of the process. We can never forget. But deep down, at the same time, whoever did this gets the attention they seek every time we show these images, so this post will not give the enemy the satisfaction.
Instead, I choose to celebrate the other 99-plus percent of us.
This photo is of former New England Patriots offensive lineman Joe Andruzzi, taken yesterday afternoon. He is helping rescue people in the wake of the chaos that ensued after Monday's explosions. If you know anything about the Andruzzi family, you know helping innocent victims of terror is nothing new to them.
This is what they do.
After all, three of Joe's brothers are New York firemen responsible for rescuing civilians during 9/11. I'm sure there were many other stories like Andruzzi's on Monday. I highlight his because normally I'm writing about sports, and Andruzzi is a sports figure.
But stories of others will continue to come out in the days and weeks to come, and we will be reminded that the worst of times brings out the best in most of us.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 Yahoo! Sports Radio from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and nationally on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.
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