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2012 College graduate Liza Elkin remembers people first thinking that the concussive blasts near her apartment were “cannons being fired on Patriots’ Day.”

However, the “booms” that she heard were actually two bombs that went off at the Boston Marathon on Monday.

Elkin and her roommate, 2012 College graduate Julie Lustbader, are two of several Penn community members who were in Boston during the Marathon to witness Monday’s chaos and Tuesday’s aftermath.

Elkin and Lustbader were less than three blocks away from the finish line when the bombs detonated.

“[We] looked out the window and saw a lot of smoke and people screaming and running down the street,” Elkin said. “We were panicking in the apartment.”

“We weren’t sure what to do,” Lustbader added. “We weren’t sure whether we should leave.”

When they went downstairs to see what was going on, they saw “people on the corner [looking] confused and panicked,” Elkin said.

The scene by the marathon was “a lot of chaos,” Lustbader said. There were many injured people, and there was a man who was bleeding pretty heavily with his foot blown off, she added.

“People [were] in the street running and screaming, trying to see what was going on,” Elkin said. “Within minutes, I heard sirens … people all around were asking if I was okay.”

A police officer informed them that they should leave their building.

“Within 15 minutes, we left the apartment and went to a friend’s house about a mile away,” Lustbader said.

They stayed there for about five to six hours before they tried to go back to their apartment. However, Lustbader said that she could not get back in because the apartment was within the zone blocked by the police.

She finally got back home on Tuesday after work.

For 2012 College graduate Gabby Abrishamian-Garcia, the events of Monday made her feel “very unsafe in a city I always felt very safe in.”

Abrishamian-Garcia went with coworkers to watch the marathon during her lunch break.

She recalled that she was standing “right where the first explosion actually happened” but went back to work about an hour before the explosions.

“I didn’t hear the explosions … [but] I heard the aftermath of the ambulances,” Abrishamian-Garcia said.

“The second [my co-worker and I] found out about what happened, our hearts just sank,” she added. “We were sad for others … and we [thought about how] it could have been us.”

For College freshman Meaghan Harding, who was visiting her brother in Boston on Monday, the “general mood of the city changed pretty rapidly” from when she arrived in the morning.

“Lots of people were crying on street corners,” she said. “It was very clear something bad had happened.”

When she went to the train station on Tuesday morning to make her return trip home, Harding noticed that people “seemed to be wary of one another” and there was an extra level of security.

“People were just quieter [Tuesday morning] and obviously profoundly upset,” Harding said.

However, Abrishamian-Garcia wants to run the marathon next year.

She added that Monday’s events have made her even “more inspired to run it in honor of those people who have been affected.”

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