PORTLAND -- Portland area residents remember the sounds and sights of the 2013 Boston Marathon the moment the explosions rocked the end of the race.
“It was pandemonium. People were in shock. People were crying,” said Peter Forrest.
“There were ambulances, just everywhere, sirens and helicopters,” said Elena Parker.
“It was a really odd moment,” said Cris Prokopec. “’Cause really I thought it was like, did a propane tank blow up? What's going on here?"
Whitney Hunter, a runner from Clark County remembered nearing the finish line when the bombs went off. He remembered his feelings moment by moment as he talked about looking for his wife, Karen right after the explosions.
“I knew Karen was waiting for me and I knew she was down in that area," he said. "But I didn’t know where she was and so I stopped and I just started spinning around in the middle of the street looking at the crowd trying to see her and yelling her name. And I didn't see her."
Hunter swore off marathons after the attack. And then he changed his mind.
“I feel really excited about it. Happy to go back and get another chance at this,” he said recently during a break in a workout at a Portland track.
Like so many stopped short by the blasts, the urge to cross the line at the end of the Boston Marathon became more than he could resist.
“Just the fact that I didn’t get to finish." Hunter said."It's a dream for a lot of runners to run Boston. I feel fortunate to have been able to do it. But it just feels not done to me."
And so he will return.
It’s not a universal feeling of course. Some like Elena Parker had decided long before the bombs went off that Boston would be her last marathon. She finished before the blasts, but the moment changed her outlook on life.
“I'm not afraid," Parker said. "But I am aware more than I was before that safety or security is really an illusion."
Millions understood that after the explosions. But now many, like Peter Forrest and his friend Cris Prokopec, will return to Boston to erase the feelings and the memories. They were not there to run but to watch baseball, basketball and then the end of the marathon. Peter grew up there.
Forrest and his friends were walking from the nearby ball park to the run's finish line when the blasts went off.
“I'd never been physically there at a place where such a catastrophe had happened," Forrest said. "Such an outrageous attack on civilization or being an American."
Now, the friends will return to Boston, to make a statement.
“Even though I didn’t run in the marathon," said Prokopec. "I want to support the people and the town and be there to let people know, you can hurt people, but we'll keep coming back and we're gonna keep this event going."
They have unfinished business of enjoying the city and creating new memories to replace the horror of April 15th.
“So yeah. It is indelible. I mean, going back in a way, is to say its okay. You know?” Forrest said.