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Bennington woman witnesses history and horror in Boston

April 18, 2013

Danielle Fogarty is a witness to history and horror. Her impending moment of great personal triumph — finishing the Boston Marathon — was suddenly shattered Monday when two bombs, in quick succession, exploded in front of her.

“None of us in our experiences here expect to see explosions and none of us expect to see flesh and burns and things. So, it’s unimaginable to be running toward the finish line and have that happen,” Fogarty said.

She shared her personal account of the events with the Banner on Wednesday, even as she was still processing the grisly scene that played out before her. At times she laughed. Other times she cried, pausing frequently to gather her words or wipe away tears. Throughout the 45-minute interview, though, she was wholly open and honest as she recounted her experience and shared her thoughts and feelings.

The story appears in today’s edition of the Bennington Banner, accompanied by a picture taken by staff photographer Peter Crabtree. With her arms crossed and a sorrowful, almost pained expression, it perfectly captures Fogarty’s inner anguish as she describes the terror she witnessed.

She spoke of how running allows her “to be in spirit.” She was able to stay in that state for some time despite the jarring explosion, followed by screaming, ghastly injuries and a wave of spectators rushing the opposite direction. She ran on toward the finish, just hundreds of yards in front of her, clearly in sight. Her partner Charles was supposed to be there cheering as she finished. Instead they found each other shy of the line and quickly left the scene.

Danielle Fogarty (Photo by Peter Crabtree)

Danielle Fogarty
(Photo by Peter Crabtree)

Interviews vary depending on the story. Sometimes they are light and fun. Sometimes they are combative. Sometimes, frankly, they are boring.

This one was moving and riveting.

Fogarty needed little prompting. In fact, she offered long, thoughtful answers to questions that probably did not meet the gravity of her experience. I was moved by her story and was myself caught up in her responses and her emotions.

Perhaps her shortest answer on Wednesday summed up how most feel about Monday’s attack:

“It’s a shame. It just a shame. It’s sad, unnecessary, stupid, cowardly,” she said.

Hers was not a fun story to tell, but it was a necessary one. Her responses, and the compassion and sorrow she expressed for whomever perpetrated the attack, provide a perspective worth sharing.

“It’s senseless violence against absolutely innocent spectators. That anybody would intend to hurt and think that that was an effective way of achieving anything, my heart goes out to a person who thinks that their only alternative is violence. It is senseless and for a person to be in that place where that act makes sense is tragic,” Fogarty said.

Bennington Banner videos by Peter Crabtree

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