Planning for the 2014 Boston Marathon is underway. That plan will include security changes after bombs went off at the finish line last April. Six months after that bombing, I noticed one important thing in Boston: people call themselves survivors of the bombing, not victims.
The terror started in April at the Boston Marathon finish line. For Meagan Bufano, Alex Silberman, Rosa Evora, Laura Ingalls and Fiona Cardenas and, really, an entire city, however, that’s also where it ends next April.
“We're going to come back and you can't stop us,” said Bufano.
“2014 means they lost, that we'll be here at the finish,” said Silberman.
“To me, as a runner and coach and as a Bostonian, you picked the wrong people,” Ingalls said with a laugh and a message to the bombers.
This group of people didn't know each other before the bombing, but they all share a common story from that day of terror.
"It was more of what I heard,” said Cardenas.
Cardenas supports surgeons at Brigham and Women's Hospital. She was filing folders -- nowhere near the finish line.
“I remember the sound of sirens going off for a couple of hours, and then patients being brought in through the ambulance area near my office,” she said.
Cardenas worried about her mom, who was supposed to be cheering people home at the finish line.
“It's still weird being down here,” Bufano said recently.
Bufano knew her friend was close to celebrating finishing the 26.2 miles when the bombs went off.
"All those people who didn't get to finish -- I think that's a big deal,” she said, with tears in her eyes. “You put so much work into it."
Rosa Evora ran that day. She was closing in on the finish.
"This big guy came in front of us and said the run is stopped,” said Evora. “We're like, ‘What do you mean the run is stopped?’ And he's like, ‘A bomb went off.’
"My sister's at the finish line. My nephews are at the finish line. What do we do? Phones are not working."
Cardenas, Bufano, Evora and Bufano all escaped physical harm -- and so did their relatives. Emotionally, though, Evora said it best.
"I still have this knot in my chest that I don't know how to get rid of. I still don't know how to get rid of it,” she said as she tried to force back tears.
Most of them met us recently at the spot of the second bombing. When you look around in that area, you really don't see any signs of that, except for a simple memorial to the people who died and were hurt.
All the people we met said the healing really started over the summer. That's when several heard about a cross-country run called One Run for Boston. The relay started in Los Angeles, passed through Missouri, and caught Silberman's attention.
“I think we were all looking for something after the events, some way to give back, some way to be involved and start the healing process,” said Silberman.
For Evora, One Run finally brought her to the finish line. She is one of several who carried an American flag on that final leg, except she broke down at the line and had to be carried over it.
“They were dragging me across,” she said.
For each person we met, April 21, 2014, is a day to anticipate and celebrate.
“If we give up, then it's over,” said Evora.