The phone calls and texts to those who took part in Monday's Boston Marathon should have asked, "How'd you do?" or "What was your time?"
Instead, they were more along the lines of, "Are you OK?" because some coward (or cowards) decided to murder and maim those taking part in and watching the annual event.
As of Tuesday morning, three people had died in the two bomb blasts near the finish line of the marathon in Boston, 176 had been injured, 17 of them critically.
When runners and their supporters should have been experiencing the joy of accomplishment of having finished a grueling 26.2-mile run, they were instead confused, bewildered, scared and some were fighting for survival.
Not only were many runners robbed of their achievement, but some families were robbed of loved ones; other runners and spectators were robbed of their good health.
Whoever is responsible for this has probably seen the chaos and injury wrought by the blasts.
Hopefully they see the response, too, when law enforcement and emergency personnel, other runners, spectators and volunteers at the event rushed to the scene, not away from it. Hopefully they've heard of the runners who finished the race and then went to give blood to help those injured in the blasts. Hopefully they've heard of the Boston-area residents who housed those unable to make their flight home and with nowhere to stay. Hopefully they saw the resolve of a nation as people across the United States, and indeed the world, took note of the cowardly attacks.
The Boston Marathon is one of the unique events that anyone can go to watch, and anyone can try to qualify. It attracts runners from around the world. In one of the most democratic displays in sporting, your entry in the marathon is based solely on your performance. It is open to everyone.
Therefore the events of Monday compel us to write about it because they hit close to home. At least 30 runners from Northeastern Wisconsin were registered to take part in the marathon. We're thankful that those we've been able to contact were not injured and we hope those whom we haven't talked to are safe as well.
For some of those local participants, their lives might be changed, some in small ways, some in big. For those injured and for the families of loved ones murdered on Monday, their lives are forever changed.
We hope, and are confident that, those responsible are found and brought to justice. The fear and cowardice of these type of attacks bring out the bravery and resiliency of a nation, where in times of need and carnage we can count on each other and strangers to help us.