Today marked the one year anniversary of the 2013 Boston Marathon that went wrong. It was my first Marathon. This evening I was in COM editing my report of the year anniversary tribute that was held at Hynes Convention Center. The ceremony was attended by VP Joe Biden, survivors and the men and women who were on the scene and helped that day. While I was editing I was watching clips from speakers at the event. I heard survivors who have lost legs say how blessed they were for all the support they have received and asked for people wanting to help, to reach out and help out others in need in your community. I heard many share with pride how incredible the strength of this country and its people is. While going through the footage, my phone buzzed and I saw that a classmate/colleague of mine tweeted out: A year ago today, almost to the hour, I learned who Carlos Arredondo is thanks to & . I thought to myself— damn, he’s right. I was emotional and clicked the next speech, it was that of Patrick Downes where he shares how proud he is to be a Bostonian. His last words, left me sobbing in the edit lab. The impact that the Boston Marathon of 2013 has on me is huge. You see, because I remember exactly a year ago at about the time I was crying in the edit lab is when I was sitting in my former dorm room, very focused, editing my report of the Boston Marathon tragedy and sharing my interview with Carlos— someone who today was recognized by the Vice President as a man who ran to danger and helped in a time of crisis. I met Carlos on the street that afternoon, unexpectedly with my friend and then colleague Seline Jung. Had it not been for the way Carlos spoke, the accent I am all too familiar with— the one that reminds me of my father’s. Had it not been for what I heard, would I have not begun speaking Spanish and captured his attention. I met him with the best intentions and he clearly saw that because I still wonder why he stopped to talk. And it’s easy to conclude that the man who helps, just doesn’t stop helping. I took a moment to wipe my tears and let that moment sink in for me. Forever in my heart and memory is this event, marked for me with the experience as a young journalist. During those weeks that lay ahead last year’s battle finally one day brought so much aid to my heart… and that was one of my favorite posts I’ve ever written: Why meeting Anderson Cooper was not the highlight of my night. So, as I proceeded to respond to my classmate’s tweet and finally dried off my cheeks, I will never lose sight of how much this day impacted me. And I find myself a year later spending another late evening working on a story (The Globe said it best) I wish would have never happened.
Here’s my story:
Filed under Journalism, Life
Last night myself and my two colleagues and friends Hilary Ribons and Seline Jung met Anderson Cooper. Since the Boston Marathon bombing lots of big key figures have been in Boston, including big time journalists like Cooper. It was around 9:30 p.m. when Seline saw Anderson’s tweet. That’s it she said this is our moment to finally meet him. I excitedly agreed and figured we could find him, since earlier we had seen live trucks all over the city. I thought all we had to do was find that CNN live-truck van. After stalking out NBC, ABC and CNN news trucks and asking around we finally were told where Cooper was doing his live show. Like children let loose in a candy store we ran screaming and holding each others hands down the streets of Boston, really it was very much over the top. Luckily, when we neared the set and saw Anderson at work we simmered down and truly enjoyed the works of any live television production. Yes, we were excited when we said “Hi” and thanked him for his work, and then of course when he offered a photo-op! However, I must say that meeting Anderson Cooper was not the highlight of my night. And I am sure Mr. Cooper would agree with me as to why. If you have been following my work these past weeks. You are familiar with my video story about the Boston Marathon witness and hero Carlos Arredondo, which has received a lot of attention and has been featured on local Miami news stations as well as NBCLatino.com. Carlos’s story is special, so please check it out. So, after a week and a half that I met Carlos and worked on his story which he was so incredibly supportive and kind about (truly a journalists’ dream). I had to admit that my earlier encounter that evening meant so much more to me than meeting Anderson Cooper, and as a journalist I would like to say Cooper would agree. Lately, I have been learning that some stories I cover will never ever leave me, and it is actually an incredible thing.
Me posing with Anderson Cooper on his Thursday night’s live 10 p.m. broadcast for CNN. PHOTO BY Seline Jung
Earlier that evening around 7 p.m. I agreed to walk over to Bolyston Street with Hilary and Seline. Hilary led us to Copley plaza to see the memorial that has been set-up for the victims of the bombing. The memorial included the original barricades from the Marathon full of posters, flowers, and supportive signs and trinkets. I even saw a few supportive signs from Miami. As we approached Copley I finally felt as if some closure reached me from the past couple of weeks because when we arrived Hilary thought she spotted Carlos, the man Seline and I interviewed. I instantly scanned the crowd until I bursted over to a man standing nicely dressed and showered, quite the difference from when I had met him covered in sweat and blood. To my surprise it was Carlos. I bolted forward to him and as he saw me, he smiled and embraced me. Once in his arms I must admit that I began to cry. No words came out— not like I even knew what to say, just tears. That man gently stood there and held me. I cannot explain, how someone who has gone through so much just allowed me to shed my tears. I felt a pang of guilt, but at the same time acknowledged the strength Carlos encapsulates. Soon after he introduced me to two people he was standing with, I began to tell him how his story was just played in my journalism school and he was elated. He told me that he was very happy to hear the video had done so well and received lots of praise and also told me how he knew I would be so successful. He continued to be very kind and warm, I was so happy to see him happy. Finally, for once I felt as if some sort of closure was brought to my journey during the 2013 Boston Marathon week. When we exchanged goodbyes I realized something important— our entire conversation happened in Spanish as it did the day I met him until he changed to English for the camera, I think that’s why he did not forget me.
The 2013 Boston Marathon memorial at Copley Square. PHOTO BY Melissa Adan.