MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Assistant principal of McGill-Toolen Catholic High School, John Repoll, is back to work after his trip to Boston with his wife Laurie.
Repoll said he had just finished watching the Boston Red Sox game on Monday, April 15 with a friend and was on his way to greet Laurie at the Boston Marathon finish line when two bombs exploded a few hundred yards away from him.
"I heard a boom and all the smoke shot out into the street. Then I heard a second boom probably 5-10 seconds later smoke came out in the street out in front of us," Repoll said. "We thought it was a cannon because it was Patriots Day."
Repoll said firefighters, ambulances, police cars and motorcycles flocked to the finish line.
"It was like stepping on an ant bed and all the ants coming out," he remembered.
He started smelling gun-powder and said there was an eerie silence in the air.
"You would think it would be chaotic, people screaming people running. It was not at all. It was almost like shock. It was very quite people were looking at each other and I think in disbelief."
For about 10 minutes, Repoll said he couldn't get in touch with his wife and her friends. After what Repoll described as a long 45 minutes, he was reunited with the group.
On his way back to his hotel, Repoll said he ran into a man wearing a Boston Marathon medal and remembers the encounter.
"I said you finish? He said yeah. I said congratulations he kind of stopped and looked at me, paused and said ‘You're the first person to tell me that. Thank you.' The man had walked for two miles without anyone congratulating him. It's sad," Repoll said.
The sights and scenes of that day are, Repoll said, etched in his mind. Both he and his wife are doing their best to move on.
"She said, 'I can't get it out of my head, I can't stop thinking about it, and it's going to take time,'" he said.
But the events of that day won't be forgotten.
"All the Bostonians kept saying we will never remember the Boston Marathon the way it was. That's what's sad, we will not remember the way the Boston Marathon was," Repoll said.
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