Remembering the Boston Bombings, two years later



Sophia Pizzi

It feels like just yesterday. It was my senior year of high school, both of my older sisters had the day off and the weather was impeccable for early April. It was the perfect recipe to spend the day in town and join the hype of our city’s greatest tradition. 

On this particular day, I was one of approximately one million spectators to line the streets of the Boston Marathon, according to the marathon’s website. Add 35,000 runners along with 600,000 city-dwellers themselves, and Boston becomes nothing short of a jam-packed entity pulsing with pride and celebration on this holiday each year. 

Starting our afternoon, my sister and I did not intend on going to the finish line on Boyleston Street. The direction we took to lunch, however, led us straight to it…three times. Roadblocks confused our directions every time before we realized our only option was to completely circle around Boyleston Street. At this point it was near 2 p.m., a time when approximately 2,000 runners had already completed their 26.2-mile journeys. Although we were lost, we watched athletes receive their medals, greet their families and pose for triumphant photos over and over again. I didn’t expect to be so moved by it, but the sight was too inspiring to not be.

Twenty minutes later, my sister and I navigated around the finish line and found ourselves on Newbury Street—one street over and two blocks away—when we heard the first explosion. 

“What could have possibly made a noise that loud?” I remember saying to my sister. 

Before she had time to respond, there was another. The sound bounced off the buildings around us. Besides that, the street remained calm. People around us tried silently reading into one another’s expressions in order to figure out whether or not to be concerned. Then my phone rang. 

My oldest sister, who was already at the restaurant—only one block away from the first bomb site—was panicked on the other end. She knew something was wrong. We quickly devised a plan to meet outside a nearby H&M. When we arrived there just seconds later, we saw smoke sifting through the street ahead while people began to yell. No one knew what was happening, but we knew we had to evacuate the area. Little did I know I was running from a scene that would soon become known as the infamous Boston Marathon Bombing. 

As we left Newbury Street, a symphony of sirens sounded throughout the city—ambulances, police cars and helicopters replaced silence with chaos. We called our parents to tell them we were okay before the city shut down cell service. 

Eventually, we ended up in the library of Suffolk University Law School. We explained what happened to the few people there and anxiously refreshed our phones awaiting the news to break. Luckily, one of our relatives happened to be driving near the city and offered to pick us up. I never thought I would see the day when, as I drove out of Boston, I would witness giant military tanks making their way into it. 

The following days, weeks and months proved to be a true test of Boston’s strength as the suspects were captured, victims were treated and hope was restored among Bostonians near and far. Two years have passed since, though the “Boston Strong” mantra lives on. Today, the events of the bombings are still relevant in both the media and in individuals’ personal lives.