Boston bombing stirs Olympic Park nightmares

On a warm afternoon in Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park, children ran laughing through the jets of water shooting up from the fountain at the park's center and the terror at the finish line of the Boston Marathon seemed a horrible fiction in the hazy, golden sunshine.

Except to those who remembered the 1996 Olympic bombing in this very park.

Two people died on that warm night in July when Eric Rudolph exploded a pipe bomb near the stage during an outdoor concert. More than 100 people were hurt.

"I was actually here that night," remembered a grant writer who works at a social services agency downtown. "My wife and I had just moved from Chicago. We left the park not long before the bomb exploded."

This 50-something man with the friendly face and glasses looked lost in thought as he remembered back to that night.

"I guess I wasn't thinking about that until I walked here and sat down about five minutes ago," he said.

Instead, he was thinking about his father, who used to run the Boston Marathon, about the picture he found among his father's belongings after the elder man died a couple of weeks ago. It was of his father crossing the finish line, much like the place devastated by Monday's bomb blasts.

Will this kind-looking man be worried now about his own safety in the wake of the Boston Marathon attack or that long ago blast in this very park?

"I think about it sometimes going to large sporting events, that kind of thing," he admitted. "But I'm not a man who lives in fear, so no, it won't change my life."

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