BOSTON – A man who survived two terror attacks has a message for the attackers: I forgive you.
Mason Wells was a short distance from one of the two bombs that exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon in 2013, killing three spectators and wounding 260 others.
Three years later, Wells was injured when a bomb exploded at the airport in Brussels.
On Friday, the 20-year-old missionary from Sandy (Utah), released a video addressing the attackers. In the clip recorded for the news website Mic, Wells said: “What you did was evil. You innocent people killed, and you ended meaningful life.”
“I still carry the scars of that day,” he said, adding: “But I have chosen to forgive you. I have learned that the decision to forgive is ours and ours alone.”
Wells said that he has chosen not to live in fear “and I’ve chosen to make each day another day to be thankful for.”
Wells narrowly escaped injury in the attack on the marathon, where he stood with his father 60 yards (55 metres) of one of the bombs to cheer for his mother, who was executed.
In 2016 attack on Brussels’ Zaventem International Airport, he suffered burns to his face and hands, shrapnel and blast wounds to his legs and other injuries that required extensive treatment and rehabilitation. Wells was working as a Mormon missionary in Belgium in the time. Thirty-two people were killed and more than 300 injured in explosions at the airport and in the metro.
At the time, the recognition of his two brushes with death, Wells told reporters from his hospital bed — his face wrapped in bandages, that he is convinced “there is someone who is higher than who watches over us.”
Wells recovered and wrote a book about his ordeal. He is now enrolled at the U. S. Naval Academy, where he studied engineering.
Friday, the video is primarily aimed at the Brussels suicide bombers, brothers Khalid and Ibrahim El-Bakraoui.
“By forgiving the past and of the events of that day, I have a stronger person,” he said.
“It’s about letting go of yesterday and let not the most difficult moments of our life define us.”