Some ran to prove the terrorists did not win. Some ran to remember. Some ran to show what "Boston Strong" really means. There were as many reasons to run as there were runners in today's Boston Marathon. A year after a terror attack targeted the race, this year's Marathon had one of the largest field of runners in the race's history. That was matched by an overwhelming turnout of fans cheering along the route.
AC360 Producer Chuck Hadad was at today's race and sent back these photos.
AC360 Producer Chuck Hadad spent a year capturing the inspiring journey of Boston Marathon bombing survivor Adrianne Haslet-Davis. Here he talks about how Boston rallied around her after the attack. You can watch “CNN Special Report: The Survivor Diaries” Tuesday, April 8th at 10pm ET on CNN.
Adrianne Haslet-Davis lost her lower left leg in the Boston bombings. She and her husband Adam were just steps away from the second blast and shrapnel tore through both of their bodies. While the couple survived, the damage to Adrianne’s heel and Achilles tendon was so severe, doctors had no choice but to amputate.
“We have been faced with many challenges and our friends have stepped up their game and rocked the pants off of unconditional love, along with our families,” said Adrianne. “Learning … who will support us in our dark hours, it means the world.“
While family and friends formed the backbone of their support system, Adrianne and Adam also credit their hometown of Boston with helping them get through those dark hours. “The city lifted us up,” said Adam. “We’ve met some great people after this who've opened their hearts to us.”
Adrianne and Adam detail their journey as survivors of the Boston bombings in a new documentary titled “The Survivor Diaries,” which premieres on CNN on April 8th at 10 p.m. ET.
From Boston’s sports teams, to the Mayor, to strangers that recognized the couple from television interviews, Adrianne and Adam drew inspiration from people across the city. One night soon after Adrianne was released from the hospital, a man they'd met at a restaurant handed them his medal from a past Boston Marathon. “He ran home and gave me his 2009 marathon medal that he ran 26.2 miles to earn,” said Adrianne. “That he is willing to give it to us speaks volumes on the spirit of Boston.”
Adrianne Haslet-Davis waves a “Boston Strong” flag at a Bruins playoff game.Source: Getty
Adrianne’s first, of many, experiences in front of a sporting crowd came at a Boston Bruins playoff game. Just weeks after the attacks, before Adrianne had been fitted with a prosthetic leg, the team invited her to wave a “Boston Strong” flag in front of thousands of fans. "I wheeled out onto the ice and they just went crazy and I just felt such an outpouring of support, not just for myself, but for anyone else who had been through (the bombings)," she said.
Adam Davis & Adrianne Haslet-Davis pose with the New England Patriots’ cheerleaders at the season’s opening game.SOURCE: Warrior Wishes
Adrianne was also invited by the New England Patriots to walk through the tunnel and on to the field with other bombing survivors at the team's opening game of the season. "Since the marathon, I've had a huge outpouring of support from Boston ... and even people all over the world, that have wished both myself and Adam and the other survivors the best of luck," said Adrianne. "Out of that, I've had some pretty amazing opportunities come my way."
While all of Boston's teams reached out in support of bombing survivors, it was the Red Sox that inspired Adrianne and Adam the most. Some players and coaching staff visited them in the hospital in the early days of their recovery. The team had ended 2012 in last place and as the 2013 season progressed, and the Red Sox kept winning, they became a metaphor for the city as a whole – knocked down but ready to fight its way back.
Adam Davis & Adrianne Haslet-Davis on the field at Fenway Park to yell “play ball!” at the beginning of a Red Sox playoff game.SOURCE: Adrianne Haslet-Davis/Adam Davis
Adam said it was the Red Sox that helped coin the phrase "Boston Strong" – it became a rallying cry that the couple took very much to heart. "We’re not going to let (the bombings) define us. This is not going be the defining moment. It’s the recovery that’s going to be the defining moment. It’s going to be our recovery that’s our story, it’s not going to be the attack."
The Red Sox went on to win the World Series at home and their storied season took on greater meaning in a city already fanatic about baseball. "It feels like we won the World Series ... I feel like we as a city won it," said Adrianne. "It wasn’t just the guys on the field, it felt like all of us were on the field when they won and I think that can only happen in Boston." The couple was honored to be invited to be part of the Red Sox World Series parade.
Adrianne Haslet-Davis & Adam Davis hold the World Series trophy, with Red Sox manager John Farrell, as part of the parade to celebrate the World Series victory.SOURCE: Adrianne Haslet-Davis/Adam Davis
Beyond the special opportunities extended to Adrianne and Adam, they say it's Boston's sense of community that has had the biggest impact on their recovery. "The bombing has made me love the city more. I think that sounds weird to say out loud but it made me realize how a group of people can come together and fight back with kindness and generosity and outpouring of support," said Adrianne. "It made me realize how much a city can pull together. And what you get from that, what I’ve received from that, is pretty incredible."
Editor's note: Anderson Cooper is live from Boston tonight on the one month anniversary of the attack. He'll speak with Adrianne Haslet-Davis and show the first installment of a special series on her recovery.
We first met Adrianne Haslet-Davis a week after the Boston Marathon bombings. She had been standing so close to the second explosion that it actually launched her into the air.
“I remember the air hitting me and the impact of the air hitting my chest and stomach and flying through the air and then landing,” she said. “I sat up and tried to move, and I said … there's something wrong with my foot.”
The impact had blown away a large portion of her left foot. Without the heroic work of her husband Adam, who had just returned from a tour in Afghanistan with the Air Force, and first responders, she likely wouldn’t have survived.
Programming note: Learn more about Kirk’s story and see how he has turned grief into a mission to help kids in the AC360° documentary “The Bully Effect” on Sunday, March 3 and Saturday, March 9 at 8 p.m. ET.
Kirk Smalley and his wife, Laura, endured every parent’s worst nightmare – burying their child. Their 11-year-old son, Ty, was a victim of bullying.
“This kid that had been picking on him for over two years, came up and starting picking on him again. And I guess Ty finally had enough. He retaliated … he got caught. He was suspended for three days. They called his mama. She went and picked him up, took him home,” said Kirk Smalley.
“She told Ty to do his homework, told him to do his chores, told him we’d talk about it when we got home that evening. When Laura came home … she found out that Ty didn’t do his homework. Our boy didn’t do his chores. Instead, he killed himself on our bedroom floor.”
Programming note: Learn more about Kelby’s story and see how she and her dad have overcome prejudice and bullying in the AC360° documentary “The Bully Effect” on Thursday, February 28 at 10 p.m. ET and March 3 and 9 at 8 p.m. ET.
Bobby Johnson’s daughter Kelby came out of the closet at age 14. The reaction from their church, he says, was immediate. “The pastor’s response was, ‘you can come here but you can no longer teach, you can no longer hold any position of authority or power within the church because that’s a part of our bylaws,” says Johnson, adding, “since that day … we have not been back.”
It was a defining moment for a man raised in a deeply religious household, and was the beginning of a journey of introspection of his faith.
“As I began to see the hate, the anger, the intolerance that came out in the community with Kelby, that really made me reflect on what I was taught,” he said.
Programming note: Learn more about Alex’s story and see how he has transformed from bullying victim to advocate in the AC360° documentary “The Bully Effect” on Thursday, February 28 at 10 p.m. ET and March 3 and 9 at 8 p.m. ET.
The bullying Jackie Libby’s son, Alex, faced every day was so severe that she worried the emotional toll would drive him to suicide.
“I would lay up with my husband at night and … just cry and say … what if he decides he doesn’t want to be here anymore? I mean, at that point, there was really only one more way to disengage. He was failing out of school. He wasn’t involved with his family at all. He didn’t want to have anything to do with his siblings. He didn’t have any friends,” Libby said. “There was only one more way for him to get out.”
Alex first spoke about his tormentors not to his mother but on camera to documentary filmmaker Lee Hirsch in what would become the award-winning film “Bully.”
“They punch me in the jaw, strangle me. They knock things out of my hand, take things from me, sit on me,” Alex said in the movie. “They push me so far that I want to become the bully.”
Cartoon Network, AC360’s long-time partner in our special reports on bullying, launched a national program today to continue the company’s campaign against bullying.
They raised the first anti-bullying flag at the Warren G. Harding Middle School in Philadelphia; 2,000 more schools across the country will join the initiative. The flags, which come with a bullying prevention toolkit, represent the power bystanders have to stop bullying.
On hand for the event was Senator Bob Casey, Democrat from Philadelphia, who plans to introduce the Safe Schools Improvement Act, a federal anti-bullying law, to Congress in the coming days. Currently there is no federal law against bullying.
Marissa Alexander, a 31-year-old mother of three, is facing a mandatory 20 years behind bars. She had pinned her hopes for freedom on a motion for a new trial; that motion was denied Thursday in a Florida courtroom.
In late April, Alexander spoke to CNN as an inmate in the Duval County Jail in Jacksonville, Florida. "This is my life I'm fighting for," she said while wiping away tears. "If you do everything to get on the right side of the law, and it is a law that does not apply to you, where do you go from there?"
Alexander is referring to Florida's "stand your ground" law, a law that has come under scrutiny since the killing of Trayvon Martin. Unlike the Martin case, which involved one stranger killing another, Alexander's case involved her gun and her abusive husband.
Editor's note: Don't miss Gary Tuchman's interview with Marissa Alexander at 8 and 10 p.m. ET tonight on AC360°.
Marissa Alexander, a 31-year-old mother of three, pleaded for her freedom as an inmate in the Duval County Jail in Jacksonville, Florida.
"This is my life I'm fighting for," she said while wiping away tears. She added, "If you do everything to get on the right side of the law, and it is a law that does not apply to you, where do you go from there?"
Alexander is referring to Florida's so-called 'stand your ground' law, a law that has come under scrutiny since the killing of Trayvon Martin. Unlike the Martin case, which involved one stranger killing another, Alexander's case involved her gun and her abusive husband.
On August 1, 2010, she said her husband, Rico Gray, read text messages on her phone that she had written to her ex-husband. She said Gray became enraged and accused her of being unfaithful. "That's when he strangled me. He put his hands around my neck," Alexander said.
Editor's note: Tune in to AC360 tonight for the surprising results of a groundbreaking new study on children and race at 8 and 10 p.m. ET.
(CNN) - Luke, a white seventh grader, believes his parents would not be supportive if he dated an African-American girl. "Honestly I don't think my parents would be too happy because ... if you marry a black girl, you're connected to their family now," he said, adding, "and who knows what her family is really like?"
Jimmy, a black seventh grader, recounted that after he had several white girlfriends, his parents seemed to interpret it as an affront to his own race. "They said, 'Why not your own kind?' because all my girls have been white," he said, adding, "it's not like they were like, 'You need to choose a black girl,' it's just they were asking me why I like white girls and I was just like, 'there's no ... specific reason.' "
Their stories highlight a divide not between the races, but between the generations. Both teens participated in an Anderson Cooper 360° study on children and race. Many students reported discouragement of interracial dating from their parents, or those of their friends, with reactions ranging from wariness to outright forbiddance.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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