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Running feet. Sounds of explosion. Frantic cries. All this occurred when two bombs were set off at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring over two hundred. Though it has been one year, it still seems like yesterday to many. With the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing comes many emotions throughout the city and worldwide. Pain, sorrow, and grief for the losses, along with kindness, care, and pride as we move forward.
All of this was felt as the city commemorated the events of that fatal day. On April 15, exactly a year after the Marathon bombing, a special memorial service was held at the Hynes Convention Center. Speeches were given by former mayor Thomas Menino, Vice President Joe Biden, Governor Deval Patrick, Mayor Marty Walsh, along with survivors Adrianne Haslet-Davis, Patrick Downes, and many others. A running theme of the event was strength by community and the courage to move on. Performances were given by Boston Children’s Chorus, The Boston Pops Orchestra, and gospel singer Renese King.
Outside, a moment of silence was shared throughout the city. Church bells rang and the national anthem was sung as the American flag was raised. Despite the wind and rain, people gathered by the finish line and all along Boylston Street to commemorate.
All over Boston, people and places showed their support. The Old South Boston Church hung the original flags from the Marathon, storefronts had yellow and blue balloons, restaurants offered specials, and uplifting messages were shown on posters everywhere.
At the Boston Public Library, a special exhibition displayed objects and memorabilia from last year’s memorial. Beautiful and touching, photographs from the Marathon and hand-written signs by children with uplifting messages filled the room. In the center were pairs of athletic shoes left at the memorial by runners to show their respect. To the side were the four crosses made for the four fatalities of the bombing. In one area stood trees where visitors could write a message on a piece of paper with string and hang them on the branches.
Over at the Boston Common, giant canvases were spread over the grass. Each canvas was from a different state or part of the world and had messages of support and love for Boston. The canvases ranged from sports teams such as the LA Dodgers to fraternities and sororities. The project was created by America 4 Boston Prayer Canvases. Founder of the project Kari Wagner says her goal was to create a project everyone could participate in to show their compassion and resilience. She believes it also symbolizes our unity as a country.
All these dedications and events held in light of the Boston Marathon bombing’s anniversary send a very special message: when terror strikes, we fight back. Nothing can take away from the love and unity that has come from humanity through the disaster. This one year anniversary has shown that with tragedy comes compassion and kindness. For every person that seeks to destroy, there are thousands of others ready to rebuild.