In the moments following the Boston Marathon explosions, amid the general confusion and uncertainty, one thing emerged with overwhelming clarity: People were rushing to the aid of strangers. Runners and spectators donated blood, volunteers helped the wounded reach medical assistance, families opened up their homes to anyone who needed a place to stay. It was as if, galvanized by a single moment, differences and rivalries had vanished. Everyone in the city suddenly saw one another as part of the same group.
That sentiment spread quickly. Within hours, it wasn’t just local to Boston; all over the world, people proclaimed themselves at one with the city. New Yorkers lined up in Red Sox caps. A photographer in Afghanistan snapped photos of locals holding signs that read “To Boston, from Kabul, with love.” In Chicago, more than 200 runners gathered for an impromptu run of solidarity. Baseball stadiums around the country blasted “Sweet Caroline” and the theme to “Cheers.”