BOSTON (AP) — A Boston Marathon bombing survivor and the man who saved his life teamed up again Saturday for a commencement speech, telling the new graduates of Fisher College to “keep running forward.”
Jeff Bauman, who lost his legs in last year’s attacks, told the crowded auditorium in Boston how his life was turned upside-down 13 months ago. He wasn’t sure if he would ever walk again, but he never gave up, he said.
“We are all running a marathon in one way or another,” said Bauman, who now wears prosthetics. “Today you are at the finish line of one race, but life is full of starting lines and heartbreak hills. You just have to keep running forward,” Bauman said.
Bauman and Carlos Arredondo became symbols of courage April 15, 2013, when tragedy struck the streets of Boston. Arredondo, who was donning a cowboy hat and passing out American flags when the bombs exploded near the finish line, rushed to save Bauman in a moment captured in an Associated Press photo.
While in the hospital, Bauman helped authorities identify the bombing suspects.
On Saturday, Bauman and Arredondo beamed as they were presented with honorary college degrees. Neither had graduated from college. The pair held their diplomas tight as about 200 Fisher College graduates walked across the stage to receive their own degrees.
Bauman and Arredondo, now close friends, touched on the power of community in their speeches, praising the other first-responders and residents who stepped up and offered endless support to the more than 260 survivors and the families of the three killed.
Arredondo also stressed the importance of helping others, as reflected by his extensive work with the American Red Cross and with campaigns for veterans and suicide prevention.
“I hope that my actions motivate others simply to love their neighbors through actions, good works and in times of need,” Arredondo said.
The two have had a busy year. Bauman got engaged, and his fiancee is expecting a baby due July 14. He released his memoir, “Stronger,” last month.
Bauman and Arredondo sat near each other at the finish line of this year’s Boston Marathon. They were also guests of Michelle Obama at this year’s State of the Union address.