Dozens of Alabamians are running the 2014 Boston Marathon, all with their own stories of how they made it to the marathon. One runner from Northport has a unique perspective on last year's bombing and why this year's marathon is so important.
Retired Alabama Army National Guard Captain Phil Gruwell has served two recent deployments in the war on terror. During his time in Afghanistan, he worked with improvised explosive devices, similar to what was used in the Boston bombing.
"I was deployed to Afghanistan for a year in 2011 and '12, and what we did was clear IEDs out of roads," Gruwell said.
"So I saw these things up close and personal. I know what they can do, I know what kind of damage they can do, I know what kind of explosion they can make. So I instantly knew that the wounded that were there ... they were significant wounds."
Gruwell first ran the Boston Marathon in 2009. He was a special military guest of the marathon, after running a marathon in Kuwait. Gruwell says for him, no other marathon compares to Boston.
"The whole year revolves around the Boston Marathon up there. Everybody loves it. I can't wait to get back there," he said.
Gruwell says the resilience of the Boston people, and Americans in general, is one example of why he is so proud to fight for his country.
"When something happens, that's when we all come together the most. We all come together for a common goal and a common cause, and we're not going to be scared, we're not going to be fearful of living in this country," he said.
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