(BOSTON) — Two brothers who each lost a leg in the deadly Boston Marathon bombing were reunited Monday, seeing each other for the first time since the horrific blast that changed their lives forever.
“It’s good to see you,” Paul Norden, 31, told his brother JP as his eyes welled with tears.
“Real good,” said JP, 33. The brothers embraced the best they could from their wheelchairs.
Just moments before the April 15 bombs exploded, killing three and injuring 170 others, the two brothers had been laughing and enjoying the event near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
When they were hit by the second of two bombs, the Norden brothers were among five friends in their group badly wounded. Paul’s girlfriend Jackie Webb had a piece of the bomber’s backpack removed from the shrapnel embedded in her leg and handed over to FBI evidence technicians, law enforcement sources told ABC News.
Both brothers lost their right leg and Paul also lost his left foot. They both suffered severe burns and shrapnel wounds as well.
But through the pain, giant smiles spread across their faces Monday when they both were wheeled into a room where their families waited at the Brigham & Women’s Library. JP is being treated on the same floor there along with several other amputees from the April 15 terror attack. Paul is being treated at Boston’s Beth Israel Hospital.
Their family members — their mother, father, another brother, two sisters and aunts and uncles — have been visiting both brothers separately, and finally got to see them together again.
The youngest Norden boy, 28-year-old Jonathan, who didn’t go to the marathon, said he would gladly “give up both of my legs for my brothers.”
During their visit, the injured Norden brothers refused to talk about the suspected bombers – one of whom was killed and another captured by police.
“They don’t want to even think about those bastards,” Liz Norden, the Norden brothers’ mother, said.
Instead, they talked about going to rehabilitation together, learning to walk again and planning their new future.
“We’re going to get through this,” Paul Norden said.
Caitlin, one of their sisters, smiled at that and said, “My brothers are tough, tough guys with giant hearts. They can do anything.”
For her part, Liz Norden just said she is thankful that her sons are recovering and feels for the families of those who were not so lucky.
“I’m just so grateful that my boys are alive,” she said. “They are alive.”
The family friend has set up a benefit fund to help the Norden’s recovery.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Julie Wootton, Times-News
Lois M. Collins, Deseret News