Tragedy struck the Boston Marathon on Monday when a pair of bombs exploded along the race's final stretch, killing at least three people and injuring scores more. Amid the news of the destruction came hopeful tales of first responders bravely running onto the scene, ordinary civilians leaping into action and runners helping their fellow competitors. These stories offer some brightness on one of the country's darkest days in recent memory.

Footage of the bombing shows just how quickly emergency personnel sprung into action. Almost immediately after the blast, police officers, firefighters and emergency workers began tearing down the barricades to get to those wounded. Spectators who were on hand also helped out, including former NFL star Joe Andruzzi. He said it was most important to keep the focus on the impressive work of the first responders.

"While I appreciate the interest in hearing our perspective on today's horrific events, the spotlight should remain firmly on the countless individuals – first responders, medics, EMTs, runners who crossed the finish line and kept on running straight to give blood, and the countless civilians – who did whatever they could to save lives," the former New England Patriot said. "They were the true heroes."

The Massachusetts National Guard has also played a role in the aftermath, offering their support to state and local officials as they look to increase security.