On April 15, 2013, the city of Boston suffered a devastating attack when two bombs detonated near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Several hundred people were injured, marathon runners and spectators alike, and three were killed. Members of the public and first responders acted swiftly, evacuating the injured, diverting runners and tending to the wounded. Soon, #BostonStrong emerged, as a declaration of the city’s resilience and fortitude.
Four years later and 3,150 miles away, an improvised explosive device was detonated by a suicide bomber inside a packed arena in Manchester, England, at the end of an Ariana Grande concert. Hundreds were injured and 22 people lost their lives. Once again, the local community and first responders jumped into action. Taxis offered free rides to those fleeing the scene, nearby homes and hotels offered free shelter for the night, and ordinary citizens helped reunite children with their parents. By the next morning, long lines had formed outside of blood donor centers.
“There were so many similarities between the two cities’ reactions,” Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans told the Manchester Evening News, during a recent exchange trip to the UK city.
Commissioner Evans was joined by Global Resilience Institute (GRI) Founding Director Dr. Stephen Flynn during the recent U.S. State Department-sponsored trip to London and Manchester, one month after a delegation from Manchester visited the GRI offices at Northeastern University.
Other members of the delegation included representatives from the Boston Mayor’s office and Dave Fortier, who founded the One World Strong Foundation after being injured in the marathon bombing.
The visits were part of an initiative to share lessons learned from the Boston Marathon bombing, and to learn firsthand how the community in Manchester responded to, and is recovering from, the arena attack.
“Two cities, both scarred by devastating attacks, both lifted up by the incredible response of their communities – the similarities between Manchester and Boston are striking,” Katherine Bainbridge of the Manchester Evening News writes. “Now community leaders are coming together to share their experiences and learn from each other, in the hope of aiding recovery and ensuring there are no similar atrocities in the future.”