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As the Brian Mickelsen Memorial Run took place in Cottonwood on Saturday, April 20, the twin bombings that rocked the Boston Marathon and the city of Boston just five days earlier lingered in the back of some locals’ minds.

The marathoning community is not a large one, but the Verde Valley has its share of former Boston Marathon runners, many of whom regularly run in the Brian Mickelsen Memorial Run and the Sedona Marathon.

News Editor Christopher Fox GrahamLast week, cameras caught images of two bombs detonating within seconds of each other near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15, killing three and injuring 160. One suspected bomber is dead, and his brother is under arrest at a Boston hospital.

From numerous vantage points, the images were broadcast live on television and via the Internet within minutes. News photographers and bystanders also snapped photos of some of the horror of the bombings’ aftermath, which went up on news outlets and social media websites.

The cameras also captured something else: At both bombing sites, bystanders — average people just out for a day’s fun at one of city’s signature events — were captured on camera heroically helping the victims.

The bystanders came from all stripes, some in town just for the race, ordinary Bostonians enjoying the annual Monday holiday, and out-of-towners hoping to glimpse a bit of history while in one of America’s oldest cities.

After two explosions tore through the crowd less than 20 seconds apart, the potential for more was surely on the minds of people at the scene. Despite that risk, hundreds of people rushed to the side of victims, helping administer first aid and comfort the wounded before emergency crews arrived. Others, including a group of uniformed American veterans cheering on other veterans running in the Boston Marathon, ripped down race barricades to help first responders and ambulances reach the wounded.

Heartfelt messages of condolence and support came to Boston from all over the globe, including national and world leaders, longtime friendly rivals in New York City and even the villagers in wartorn Kafr Anbel, Syria, who know all too well the terror of senseless attacks on innocent civilians.

While the Cottonwood race went off without a hitch, instilling fear in a population, even a small irrational fear, is the point of terrorism.

Terrorists fail by believing that fear can paralyze a community. What terrorists don’t see is what the rest of us see immediately: Heroism lives inside every ordinary person just waiting for us to use it.

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