My wife told me about it. But I did not feel the full impact of this tragedy until I turned on the TV, and saw the footage. Billowing gray smoke coming from an unidentifiable building proceeded by an explosion of fragmented debris, made me feel as if I was watching the terrorist attack on 9/11 all over again. People screaming and running for their lives as chaos began to unfold disturbing the decades old sporting event that is the Boston marathon.
As investigators combed through what Boston's top police official described as "the most complex crime scene we've dealt with in the history of our department," leaders vowed to emerge unbowed from Monday's terror attack.
"Moments like this and our response to them define who we are," Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley said, a day after 2 bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring 176.
Investigators spent Monday going over the 12-block crime scene and fanning out to interview witnesses, with FBI Boston Field Office Special Agent in Charge Richard DesLauriers vowing to go to the "ends of the earth" to find out who was behind the bombing.
He said Tuesday that there was no known imminent threat in the wake of the bombings. Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick stressed that, despite earlier reports, there were no unexploded bombs discovered after the attack.
Authorities pleaded for the public to submit cell phone images and video that could help unravel the mystery of who created such carnage and pandemonium at one of the nation's most storied sporting traditions. The narrative usually ends with one winner victoriously breaking the ribbon at the finish line. The blasts, which killed an 8-year-old boy and two other people, marked a grotesque end to what should have been a celebration of triumph.
One man's legs were instantly blown off, yet he kept trying to stand up. Exhausted marathoners had to muster up the energy to flee the bloody scene, while some 176 people sought treatment at area hospitals, some of them were gravely wounded.
Investigators don't know the motive for the bombings and don't have a specific suspect, nor have they found any surveillance video showing the bombs being placed. President Obama has said that the terrorists will be found and will be subject to the "full weight" of the law.
A day after the bombings, as Pope Francis told Bostonians to "combat evil with good", and runners in Atlanta staged a silent run to commemorate the victims, Americans alternately mourned and nervously wondered who was behind the violence.
The blasts happened in quick succession, near the row of international flags that led up to the finish line. The impact was so powerful, it whipped the limp flags straight out, as if they were caught in a hurricane, or a storm
Some runners said they thought the first blast was from a celebratory cannon. Any such illusions were shattered when the second blast erupted, startling the exhausted runners out of their post-race daze.
Of the 176 people who were treated at hospitals, at least 17 were in critical condition and 41 in serious condition, according to hospital officials. At least nine of the wounded were children. Some of the wounded kids have already left the hospital, Boston Children's Hospital spokeswoman Meghan Weber said.
Dr. Albert Pendleton, an orthopedic surgeon who was helping staff the race's medical tent, told the local news on Tuesday it was "basically like the bomb took out the legs of everybody."
"Boston will overcome," Mayor Thomas Menino promised.
There is no doubt in my mind that Boston will overcome. But I cannot help but wonder if this bombing is a sign of things to come or a deadly isolated incident.