It’s been a month and a half since tragedy struck Boston on Boylston Street, but the memories of that day are something no person at the Boston Marathon will ever forget. Last night, as the Boston Red Sox got ready to play the Philadelphia Phillies, the players and fans were reminded of both the horror and heroism that took place on April 15th.
Jeff Bauman was in Boston that day to watch his girlfriend run the marathon. As he waited he noticed Tamerlan Tsarnaev acting suspicious, and put down a black backpack with a pressure cooker bomb inside of it. The bomb tore off both of his legs and he was sure he was going to die. He very well may have had not Carlos Arredondo been there.
Arredondo is an anti-war activist and Red Cross volunteer, who was at the finish line that day to help runners after the finish. His son was killed in action in Iraq, which caused him to attempt suicide. Tragedy struck the Arredondo family again in 2011 when his 24-year-old son, who was battling depression since the death of his brother in 2004, killed himself.
When the bomb went off at the finish line Arredondo immediately sprung into action. According to Bauman:
“I saw him. He was running around helping everybody injured in the blast. And then … he helped me. When Carlos picked me up and threw me into the wheelchair, then I was like, ‘All right, maybe I am going to make it.’ But before that, no way — I thought I was done.”
Bauman lost both of his legs that day, but his description of Tsarnaev was all the FBI needed to identify him. Despite this, his inner strength is an inspiration to all Bostonians. Likewise Arredondo’s heroism and bravery in the face of unknown danger became the lasting image of the tragic events of April 15th.
Bauman has appeared at a Boston Bruins game earlier this season, waving a flag on the ice. However, on a local talk radio show Bauman said he would only throw out a first pitch at Fenway Park if Arredondo was there with him.
Last night Red Sox fans were treated to something special. Arredondo once again wheeled Bauman in the Copley neighborhood. This time he was pushing him towards the pitcher’s mound for the first pitch. Bauman, who clearly has been working on his upper body strength, angled his chair so he could get the best trajectory possible.
Then something special happened. Bauman called his pitch. He threw a perfect strike to David Ortiz, as Arredondo threw his pitch to Jarrod Saltalamacchia. If you didn’t have tears in your eyes at that moment you might want to go to the doctor, because something is wrong with your heart. It was one of the defining moments in Boston sports history, and one that I will never forget.