First-Hand Accounts of the Tragedy at the 2013 Boston Marathon Finish Line


"I was stationed in Medical Tent A, adjacent to the finish line, aiding a few runners who had come in with muscle cramping and hyponatremia. All of a sudden, the first bomb detonated and it was an awful, loud, jarring feeling. Being enclosed in the tent, we couldn't tell where the blasts went off and how many were affected. Within minutes, the tent announcer asked us to move all runners to the back of the tent and tend to them there.

"Soon after, the wounded were brought in on stretchers and wheelchairs, the worst of which were brought immediately to the ambulances or the back of the tent with most of the physicians and nurses. I was truly in shock at first and didn't know how to help, but ended up with a group of doctors and nurses in the front of the tent, helping them with supplies that were quickly running out, holding victims' hands, trying to stay as calm as possible and keep my head about me.

"As soon as the first blast went off, I saw many of my colleagues from Boston Children's Hospital and other doctors, nurses, ATs, EMTs and other volunteers run towards the blasts. To me, these are the true heroes. The medical staff in the tent exuded a calm throughout the entire ordeal, which I'm sure saved lives. Most of my colleagues were stationed at the finish line and I have seen video on television and heard accounts of how quickly they and the other volunteers ran in to help, putting their own safety aside." 

—Jennifer Kitano, via email

Related: How You Can Help and Support Boston

"We thought it was a cannon but then a second one went off. I was in the changing tent when the volunteer told us to leave immediately. We ran out and then I could not find my partner or get her to answer the phone—I knew she was trying to get to the finish. She was trampled in the pack of people running from the scene. Luckily she was not hurt. Utter chaos. We had to walk 4 miles back to the hotel and met runners pulled off the course who did not know why. Such sadness inflected on a day of joy. Hard to process." (Related: What impact will the Boston Marathon attacks have on runners? Learn about the changes in upcoming marathons.) 

—Julie Moffitt, via Facebook

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