By Magen McCrarey
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
Bystanders recalled the gruesome scene looked like festivity among a forlorn battlefield. In the midst of Patriot’s Day and the Boston Marathon, two bombs shocked the nation.
Boston was celebrating unity, which is what I expect to be the result of this atrocious tragedy. At mile 26, following the two consecutive bombings, emergency personnel ran towards the debris, smoke and cries for help. Their lionhearted acts of service is what upholds our nation’s hymn, to be the land of the free and home of the brave.
We are free to act, in any manner that we wish. Some may act in a self-serving manner, as one man did, as he stood along the finish line filming the aftermath of the tragedy, narrating “oh my God,” as the emergency workers tore down fences to reach those wailing for help. Others may act in preparation for what’s to come, as did those who made ready first aid stations for those who lost limbs or received wounds. And then, you have the brave, who freely chose to go towards the danger, disregarding their own safety, to save or help another soul.
Following the numerous senseless acts of violence within the past year and a half that our nation has endured, I believe it’s time we step forward and join the brave. As a child, I received my American Red Cross First Aid Certification. Later, I received my CPR/AED training. About seven years ago, I learned how to be a lifeguard. This year, I’m in the process of receiving my official conceal and carry license, for self protection and, even more so, for the protection of others.
As a lifeguard, I had my moment to be brave when I saved two young girls from drowning in a 10 foot wave pool. I didn’t think about how I was going to save them — I just dove right in and grabbed them like my life depended on it. Words cannot describe the look in their eyes as they gazed at me in gratitude. Since then, I’ve never forgotten what one of the little girls said to me when she grabbed my hand and whispered in my ear, “When I grow up, I want to be just like you.”
All it takes is your time, that is given to you freely, to choose to become more than a bystander. I urge everyone to receive training, learn how save a life, discover a selfless way of thinking and you will receive a contagious reward in your heart bigger than you could have ever imagined.
Whomever planned and executed the bombings will receive no reward, of that I am sure. But what they will witness is a nation briefly shattered in fear, but ever growing in unity.