The smoke and flame had not even dissipated before it was crystal clear that the terrorists had lost again. There was the flash, the boom, then a few brief moments to get their bearings before, almost as one, Americans began running toward the fire.
It wasn’t just the cops and the soldiers. It was spectators, bystanders, even runners themselves who seconds before had been struggling to cross the finish line after 26 brutal miles. In one terrible moment that shredded bodies and lives, they went from being ordinary Americans to something extraordinary.
Scratch that – “extraordinary” is the natural condition of Americans. That is neither mere sentiment nor some wishful thinking about American exceptionalism. It is a fact, demonstrated again and again, in peace and in war. Americans don’t wait. They don’t hesitate. They act.