We were all stunned by the bombings Monday at the Boston Marathon. Whether this turns out to be a domestic or foreign terrorist attack, it has succeeding in terrifying us.

The fact that so much of the horror was captured in video and photos only brings it closer to home. This could have been our marathon, our festival, our gathering.

Our hearts go out to the victims, especially those whose lives will forever be changed because of the bombing. April 15 will always be remembered for something other than a tax deadline – it will be the day of thebombings at the Boston Marathon.

When tragedies like this happen, it’s easy to immediately react with fear and vow to protect ourselves at all costs. Just knowing that the parents of 8-year-old Martin Richard, who was killed in the attack, will never hold their beautiful young son again, makes us want to go inside where it’s safe.

Runners may think twice about participating in upcoming races. Organizers may struggle with how to keep their event safe. The terrorists – whoever they are – wanted to strike terror in our hearts.

If that terror changes us too much then the evil perpetrator wins. Caution is good. But lives must be led.

We are a nation of gatherers. We need to be a part of the masses. We need to celebrate triumph, mourn together and enjoy the beauty of lives worth living.

We can’t go inside and hide.

The world is different today. Just the speed by which information travels makes neighbors of people on the other side of the world. Bad things do happen – on the largest of scales (911 or the Newtown, Conn., school shooting), and in our own backyard (the shooting deaths less than 18 months ago, of two Aiken police officers).

But we must go on and celebrate life and the abundance of goodness we have been given.

That goodness came shining through on Monday when so many people ran toward the bomb sites to help those injured. Surely their own safety was a concern, but they went to help anyway.

Most true heroes don’t set out to become a hero. It just happens when they find the strength and courage within them to put others first – to do the right thing just because it is the right thing.

Those folks in Boston are heroes. And knowing there is that kind of goodness in the world should give us reason enough to face our enemies and slap terror in the face.