Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Boston Bombings Leave Nation Reeling

CHRIS GRIVAS/THE HOYA The portion of Pennsylvania Avenue near the White House was closed as a precautionary measure after two bombs exploded in Boston yesterday.
The portion of Pennsylvania Avenue near the White House was closed as a precautionary measure after two bombs exploded in Boston yesterday.

Two bombings at the Boston Marathon yesterday, which have left at least three dead and 100 injured, have stunned and devastated the nation and the Georgetown community.

The explosions were the result of bombs that detonated near the marathon’s finish line around five hours after the race began, and police spent the rest of the day in Boston and other major cities searching for other potential explosives.

Federal officials have deemed the incident a terrorist attack, according to multiple media outlets, and the government is taking extra security measures around the country. In Washington, D.C., the portion of Pennsylvania Avenue outside of the White House was closed off to the public as a safety precaution. Officials conducted the same procedure during the Oklahoma City bombings in 1995. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is also stationing additional officers in Metro stations during rush hour.

In a press conference last night, President Obama assured the public that the government would take action against those responsible.

“We are Americans united in concern for our fellow citizens,” President Obama said. “We still do not know who did this or why and people shouldn’t jump to conclusions. … Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups, will feel the full weight of justice.”

The District’s Emancipation Day celebration today will not be cancelled, but there will be increased security at the event, and the university is also ramping up its patrol in light of the incident.

“We are increasing our presence out in the community, and the officers have been reminded to be vigilant about anything that’s out of the ordinary,” Chief of Police and Director of Public Safety JayGruber said.

While Gruber acknowledged that an urban area such as Washington, D.C., had the potential to be attacked, he said that Georgetown did not appear to be a target.
“[The bombings don’t} seem to be a nexus to higher education or any sort of religious institution, so my level of concern isn’t as high as if the organization had been Catholic,” Gruber said.

The university held a prayer service yesterday night at Dahlgren Chapel to support the victims of the bombing.

According to the Boston Marathon’s entry list, nine people from the 20007 zip code, which encompasses Georgetown and Burleith, were registered for the race, in addition to some Georgetown students who were in Boston for the race.

Caroline Heydinger (COL ’13) ran in the marathon with her mother. She finished the race about 15 minutes before the explosion, while her mother finished four minutes prior to the blast.

“It was a tough experience,” Heydinger said. “I’m just so grateful that my family and I made it out okay.”

Heydinger said that she was waiting for her mother at their designated meeting place about two blocks away from the finish line when the bomb went off. She described the scene as chaotic, with people in a state of shock and disbelief, attempting to find family members.

“It’s just such an unbelievable, devastating thing,” Heydinger said. “I feel so fortunate personally but I feel so sad that someone would do this and sad for everyone who was directly or indirectly affected.”

Hannah Gerdes (COL ’16), a former staffer of The Hoya, was also at the marathon to watch her father run and was evacuated from Boston’s subway system when the bombings occurred.

“Initially, we heard that there were explosions, and it was very sobering,” Gerdes said. “We were disbelieving. … It was unreal that it was happening.”

Gerdes was with a friend but was separated from her mother and father at the time of the explosions.

“For me … it was more not knowing how to react and not knowing initially whether my mom was safe and my dad was safe,” Gerdes said. “It was kind of not knowing and waiting to hear from people.”

After leaving the subway and attempting to return to Harvard University where she had been staying,Gerdes received text messages from friends and families asking whether she was safe, the first indication of the incident’s gravity.

“Before this had happened, we didn’t realize the severity of it,” Gerdes said. “That was the first time we realized [that] this was national news.”

Heydinger called the situation “surreal” and praised Boston officials’ response to the attack.

“One of the most moving things was just seeing all the ambulances rushing to the scene,” Heydingersaid. “All I could think was all these people are running away and these people [are] running there.”

Heydinger, who returned to her home in Vermont following the marathon, said that she would try to return to campus today following the bombing.

“I think it had a very big impact on me but I think that Georgetown is a very loving community and there’s no place I’d rather be after something like this,” Heydinger said. “It really puts things in perspective.”

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