May 15 marks exactly one month since two pressure cooker bombs were detonated at the finish line of the Boston Marathon in a planned terrorist attack in which three people were killed and 264 injured. While the event has been dropped in the rapid shifts of the 24-hour news cycle, the tragic event has been indelibly etched in the mind of Columbia psychiatrist Dr. Frank Clark, who ran the marathon in 2 hours and 54 minutes. Clark says he lingered for a while near the finish line waiting for a friend who was still on the course.
“As I headed back to my hotel, which was only about a mile from the finish line, I heard two big explosions. At the time I didn’t know they were bombs, I thought they were fireworks given that it was Patriots ‘ Day. It didn’t occur to me that two bombs had been detonated near the finish line until I got closer to my hotel,” he remembers
Clark says his friend did not finish the race but thankfully he and his family members that were waiting for him were unhurt.
Clark says it is understandable that many Americans have become uneasy with the recent terrorists attacks and mass shootings that have occurred over the past few months and years, but he says there is one emotion that people should not succumb to: “I think it’s important to know that we must not live in a state of fear. I do think that people have probably become more hyper-vigilante given the Boston bombings, the shootings at Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, as well as other attacks on schools or acts of terror including the attacks on the Twin Towers (9/11).”
Clark says it is important for people to realize that keeping their emotions to themselves can harm more than help. He urges that people talk to friends and family about events that have a profound effect on them.
Clark admits that he is still in recovery mode concerning the April 15 bombings. He says his network of friends, including fellow runners helps.
“I can tell you from my standpoint in my life, having a supportive network has been helpful for me in terms of my resilience through adversity. My faith in God is important to me and I would say if people draw their strength from a higher power that usually seems to help them through times of adversity.”
Clark says thinking of his role model, his mom, helps him cope with adversity. Clark says his mom is a retired Chicago school teacher who endured and thrived during 35 years in the classroom that included 11 strikes.
Clark says Boston has become another snapshot of the powerful resiliency of people when they decide to come together for a collective recovery. “It always amazes me that during times of tragedy is when it seems that our country comes together. At other times we seem divided, whether it is based on religion, race, gender issues, but for some reason tragedy brings us together.”
One way Clark is coping with the bombings is helping out with “One Fund, Boston 2013″ to help victims of the tragedy. He participated the group’s fundraiser Tuesday night in Columbia.