Our View: Every day, heroes walk among us
But one thing of which there is no question is the way ordinary people, at the scene of the bombings, acted when their neighbors were in need.
We expect our first responders, our officers, our firefighters to be first on the scene of emergencies, such as that which occurred in Boston Monday afternoon. And when you look at the film and photographs from that day, you see them there.
But look closer and you see that they were not alone. Throughout the carnage are visitors, bystanders and unharmed athletes assisting -- running toward the scene of danger.
Heroes walk among us. Whether at the scene of senseless destruction wrought by two bombs at a sporting event, or at the incomprehensible deaths of nearly 3,000 people at the hands of al-Qaeda hijackers, it is every day people who make the difference, people who do whatever they can in the midst of horrific circumstances to make things better for strangers.
People who rush in when instincts say to rush away.
This is the spirit of our nation -- and a spirit not found everywhere in the world.
Perhaps, we have had too much practice. Since 9/11 we imagine that there has been a fragile peace on American soil, but since that date there have been at least four terror attacks within our borders: the so-called "underwear bomber" in 2009, a car bomb in New York's Times Square in 2010, a pipe bomb inside a Jacksonville, Fla., mosque in 2010 and a backpack bomb along a Martin Luther King Day parade route in Washington in 2011.
And now Boston in 2013 is added to that list. And another opportunity for heroes to arise from the ashes.
We certainly laud the efforts of our first responders and law enforcement officers. These men and women make the difference between life and death with every emergency to which they are called. But others around us -- the unpaid, the untrained and those who put heart before head -- deserve our praise. Together, they represent the best of our nation, a spirit of placing others before self.