By David Pendered
Atlantans are paying quiet respects to Boston following the explosions during the Boston Marathon.
Artist Walter Cumming was watching the event live on an internet feed, drawing during the race, and posted drawings from his sketchbook scant hours after the blasts. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed issued a statement. MARTA and other agencies advised that security has been increased, including what appear to be additional patrol cars parked near the state Capitol.
On Thursday, Atlanta Councilmember H. Lamar Willis intends to honor Boston’s victims with a moment of silence before his weekly run/walk, which he does with city employees.
Atlanta knows the pain of bombs that hurt civilians.
Marks from the bomb that went off in Centennial Olympic Park during the 1996 Summer Olympic Games remain on a statue in the park.
The next year, bombs detonated at an abortion clinic in Sandy Springs and at a lesbian bar in Atlanta.
The heightened state of anxiety has led to extra vigilance. Two alarms proved to be false.
A suspicious package inside a Wells Fargo Bank at 4454 Roswell Road was reported Wednesday at 11:05 a.m. to Atlanta police, police said. The bank was evacuated, the intersection of Roswell near Wieuca Road was shut to vehicles and pedestrians. A SWAT team arrived and examined the package – determining it was guidebooks.
On Tuesday, at about 1 p.m., Atlanta police officers responded to a call near Turner Field, near Hank Aaron Drive and Georgia Avenue, concerning a suspicious package under a garbage can that appeared to contain an electronic device. The call was made by the ballpark’s security squad, which was out on routine patrol. A SWAT team responded, and police said the device appeared to be no threat.
Cumming, the artist, posted his drawings beneath a two-paragraph introduction. It reads:
- “This is a nightmare. I have run and finished 10 Boston marathons from 1979 to 2007 (2:34:52 best time). Even among runners, I would qualify as a Boston fanatic. “This is a tragedy beyond my imagination. My sacred Boston Marathon will never be the same. My heart goes out to the runners, spectators and families who are affected.
- “These sketches were drawn live in my sketch book from an internet live stream in my studio in Atlanta this [Monday] morning. The top women and men finished around noon, about three hours before the bombs.”
Reed issued this statement early Monday evening:
“My thoughts and prayers are with the City of Boston today and all those who have been affected by today’s tragic events. I am deeply saddened to hear of the loss of life and injuries suffered by so many people. Here at home, the City of Atlanta’s First Responders are currently taking additional measures to enhance the safety of our citizens and protect them from senseless acts of violence.”
Note to readers: Pendered and Cumming worked together for many years at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.