With images of a highly successful Ironman South Africa event just completed in Port Elizabeth this past weekend we woke up this morning to be told that a bomb blast near to the finish of the Boston Marathon had killed 3 and injured 125. Just a few years ago the situations might have been reversed.
As reported in the New York Times: “Two powerful bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday afternoon, killing three people, including an 8-year-old child, and injuring more than 100, as one of this city’s most cherished rites of spring was transformed from a scene of cheers and sweaty triumph to one of screams and carnage.
“Almost three-quarters of the 23,000 runners who participated in the race had already crossed the finish line when a bomb that had apparently been placed in a garbage can exploded around 2:50 p.m. in a haze of smoke amid a crowd of spectators on Boylston Street, just off Copley Square in the heart of the city. Thirteen seconds later, another bomb exploded several hundred feet away.”
The American Red Cross in Boston has a long history of supporting the marathon with volunteers and first aid stations. Before the explosion they were assisting with the race and aftre the blast continued to support runners, their loved ones and the entire community with mental health assistance, food, drinks and blankets at the reception sites. In addition, the Red Cross has provided 100 additional blood products to several area hospitals to help meet the needs of those injured at the Boston Marathon. Additional mental health workers are being brought in for those who will need emotional support in the coming days. The Red Cross will be working in close coordination with officials to determine how they we can best help the community and support emergency workers.
There is currently enough blood on the shelves to meet patient needs.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued the following statement after the bombings at the Boston Marathon, April 15.
“The tragic end to the Boston Marathon April 15 reminds us all that evil exists and that life is fragile.
“The deaths and injuries of people gathered for the celebration on Patriots Day in Boston calls on all of us to pray for the souls of those killed the healing of those injured and the restoration of peace for all of us unsettled by the bombings at a world renowned sporting event.
“Our special prayers are with the Archdiocese of Boston and the people there who are working in the aftermath of this crisis to address those wounded in so many ways by these events.
“The growing culture of violence in our world and even in our country calls for both wise security measures by government officials and an examination by all of us to see what we can personally do to enhance peace and respect for one another in our world.”
Dr. Robin Ganzert, president CEO of American Humane Association said; “Children are especially vulnerable at a time like this, parents, teachers, and other caregivers need to be especially sensitive to how children are reacting and help them cope with their fears and feelings. The best thing is to talk to children now and in the weeks to come to ensure they receive the attention they need in dealing with this frightening tragedy.”
In a televised statement President Obama called for calm, an end to speculation and assured the world that the reasons for the bomb would become known and the culprits would be brought to justice.
What can we learn from this? What we did to each other in the days of apartheid was wrong – the bombing and killing, the job reservation, the judging on skin colour. The way that we are presently fracturing and polarising our society will lead to tension and strife once again. We need a real leader to stand up and realise that we all actually want to unite under one flag and make South Africa great.
Our prayers for the victims and a call for peace are extended to all.