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Bravery in Boston: Heroes, helpers and hope

  • Despite tragedy, first responders, service members and civilians all showed their true colors during the Boston attacks
  • Still others offered inspiration, comfort through their deeds
Bravery in Boston: Heroes, helpers and hope

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’" -- Fred Rogers

Perhaps we all need a moment to search out the helpers, the heroes, the people who, when tragedy called, answered without fear. Here are some moments from the aftermath of Monday's attack in Boston that might help heal your faith in humanity.

Let's start with this reminder from the Army:

Two soldiers were also reported to have helped the victims, and then, when they had done all they could do, ran to Mass General Hospital to give blood.

Meet Carlos Arredondo: Peace activist, accidental hero (pictured above):

A jarring and gruesome picture circulated yesterday of a man, his tattered legs all but blown off below the knee, being wheeled to safety. By his side, another man in a cowboy hat gripped what seemed to be an artery dangling from the injured man's leg.

"The man in the hat," as he has been called, is Carlos Arredondo, a famed peace activist with a tragic past all his own. In 2004, Arredondo's son, Lance Cpl. Alexander Arredondo died in Iraq. In 2011, his other son, Brian, took his own life after a long struggle with depression and addiction.

Arredondo was at Monday's race as a spectator, cheering on a runner who had dedicated the race to his veteran son. When all hell broke loose, Arredondo was be seen from many angles sifting through the wreckage and helping lead people to safety. Here, he paused for a heartbreaking interview, his shaking hands clutching a bloodied American flag.

#26Acts, Act II

After the tragedy in Newtown, journalist Ann Curry started #26Acts, a movement urging people to commit to acts of kindness in honor of the victims. It inspired thousands of good deeds. Now, Curry is urging us to do it again. It's a call everyone wishes they didn't have to answer. But isn't kindness always the right answer?

True Patriots

Former Patriots/Browns player Joe Andruzzi was photographed carrying a woman to safety.

And Danny Amendola, current Patriots wide receiver, made a creative pledge. We doubt he will be the last to do so.


A few pictures of first responders

You may not know their names, but you know the good they did


As people tried to make sense of the chaos, others went into full-on help mode. #BostonHelp became the place to offer or request assistance, and all over the city, there were reports of people showing extraordinary kindness through actions big and small.

Cities show their support

Sports rivalries be damned -- New York and Chicago set up beautiful gestures of support.

A familiar symbol of hope

As night fell, MIT's Green building was lit up like the American flag

Patton Oswalt's stirring words

Most everyone had something to say Monday afternoon, some way to express their concern or their fears. One of the very best was from actor Patton Oswalt, whose lengthy, yet worthwhile Facebook post went viral. In part:

"You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out...This is a giant planet and we're lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in awhile, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they're pointed towards darkness. 

But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We'd have eaten ourselves alive long ago. 

So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, "The good outnumber you, and we always will."

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