The War Comes Home: Combat Veterans Among the Heroes in Boston

Monday, April 15th, 2013. That day will be among those that stand out in our minds for the rest of our lives. Another tragedy in the United States. I do not want to speculate on any motive or profile of a suspect. I will leave that to the media.

There was a Washington Post article about the chaos, and some unsurprising heroes who instinctively jumped into action. They were veterans. They were men who once stood in combat and saw scenes just like the one in Boston, only they unfolded in Iraq.

Brennan Mullaney and Eusebio Collazo were running the marathon with a nonprofit group called Team Red, White & Blue, that promotes healing of veterans. They were on their 25th mile when they heard what happened, and soon jumped into action to help treat the victims of the attack.

As the article mentions, this bomb was essentially an IED. As combat veterans, these men were used to seeing this type of chaos. The irony is that many of these runners with Team Red, White & Blue were doing this race to help them cope with their own PTSD and other combat-related ailments through exercise.

When they got to the blast site, they immediately went to the victims to try and save them, taking the shirts off their own backs, and tearing them into tourniquets to help control the bleeding. Once most of the victims were carted away, the veterans offered emotional stability to other shaken runners, who were not used to this type of carnage.

Offering his perspective on the events, Mullaney said, “When it happens in your back yard, your home, your community, it’s exponentially more painful. When it happens here, it’s innocent people — that’s the nature of terrorism.”

It is second nature for men and women of the military to jump into action when things like this occur. So many videos were taken during this tragedy. On one, the cameraman managed to capture every bit of the chaos immediately after the blast and again, to nobody’s surprise, men in their fatigues were right there taking action to move the rubble off of the victims.

They are protectors; overseas and on our own shores they make certain that the United States is not only the most powerful nation in the world, but also the most compassionate.

Many, many people would have died in Boston, had it not been for the alarmingly quick response of not only these service members and veterans, but also the American citizens nearby, and the first responders of Boston.

As for the city of Boston, I think Stephen Colbert, of all people, summed it up best on his show the day after the bombing. Here’s what he had to say:

“…but here’s what these cowards really don’t get; they attacked the Boston Marathon. An event celebrating people who run 26 miles on their day off – for fun. (…) And when those bombs went off, there were runners, who, after finishing a marathon kept running for another two miles to the hospital to donate blood! So, here’s what I know. These maniacs may have tried to make life bad for the people of Boston, but all they can ever do is show just how good those people are.”

Boston Strong.

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