On Monday morning, I stepped out of my house and walked 1 block to the race route to cheer on the runners as they passed the 10 mile marker in Natick, MA. It was such an immense feeling of excitement and pride in being from MA. I have lived in this great state for 20 years but this was the first year that I attended the race celebrations. It seemed like the entire town had come out to cheer on the runners and be a part of that historic event. People from every walk of life lined the street along the route, shouting words of encouragement to total strangers as they flew by. I remember remarking to my friends how incredible it was that the entire community can come together for a day and support these runners who flock here from every corner of the Earth.

A few hours later, it all came crashing down. Someone tried their hardest to ruin what should have been an amazing day. As devastating as the bombings were, I was touched to see the faces of heroism running into the debris to save innocent lives. I was overwhelmed to hear that runners who had just completed an astonishing feat of running 26.2 miles, continued to run past the finish line to the nearest hospital to donate blood for the victims. Boston is a tough town. The attack came on a local holiday around here called Patriot’s Day. It is a day to celebrate our home state’s bravery and fearlessness in the face of opposition as we began our fight for independence. We did not bow to the enemy then and we will not bow now. We will fight and we will win.

Monica Sheikholeslami

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