Boston marked the third anniversary of the deadly 2013 marathon bombings with subdued remembrances.
The governor and mayor joined victims’ families Friday morning for a brief and quiet ceremony at the finish line on Boylston Street.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and his wife, Lauren, bowed their heads in silence after helping the father of one of the three who died, 29-year-old Krystle Campbell, place a white flower wreath. Mayor Marty Walsh placed a second wreath with the families of the other slain victims, 8-year-old Martin Richard and 23-year-old Lingzi Lu.
No one spoke.
A bagpipe played softly before the occasion, which was observed by nearly 100 people including survivors, their families and supporters.
A multi-colored banner with a peace sign, a heart and words Martin Richard had written before his death — "no more hurting people … peace" — hung on an empty storefront.
Two men placed crosses on a tree honoring the victims, including MIT Police Officer Sean Collier, who was killed by the attackers in the ensuring manhunt.
Scott Weisberg, a 46-year-old Birmingham, Alabama, physician who finished the 2013 marathon seconds before the first bomb detonated, said he comes back each year for the anniversary and to run the race.
He wears hearing aids now because he suffered hearing loss and recently closed his medical practice because he continues to deal with memory loss and speech processing problems from head injuries he sustained in the blast.
"This is a special time to connect. I have a second family who understands what I’m going through," Weisberg said. "The first year, a lot of us were just trying to figure things out. I think the focus now for many of us is where we’re going, what we’re going to do with the second half of our lives."
Later in the day, Deval Patrick, the governor at the time of the attacks, is slated to speak at an interfaith service near the finish line.
At 2:49 p.m., a citywide moment of silence will mark the time when the first of two pressure cooker bombs detonated near the race’s end, killing three people and injuring over 260 others.
One of the bombers, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was sentenced to death in June. His brother, Tamerlan, died in a gunfight with police in the days after the attack.
Throughout the day, residents will be taking part in blood drives, food and clothing collections and other community service projects as the city has proclaimed April 15 "One Boston Day," a day to celebrate the city’s resilience through acts of kindness and generosity.
Martin Richard’s family, for example, is leading a cleanup in their Boston neighborhood of Dorchester while Lu’s family is making a financial donation to the Police Department’s Athletic League.
The mayor’s office is collecting premixed baby formula, baby wipes and hand sanitizer to send to Flint, the Michigan city struggling with lead-tainted drinking water.
Boston Marathon bombing survivor Rebekah Gregory posted a statement on her Facebook page on Friday:
3 years have passed and I would’ve thought by now, this all would have gotten a little easier. It hasn’t. Instead we just continue to put on a strong front because there is no other choice. No option to show how deep the impact still runs each and every single day after.
When life hands us something of this kind of magnitude, it changes every fiber of our being. And we can never go back to the way we were before, no matter how much we may want to at times.
In some ways it turns out to be a good thing. I do believe speaking from my own experience, that I am a better person now. And maybe the scars simply serve as a reminder that most of what we worry about is trivial in comparison. For that I am thankful.
But with optimism there also comes the harsh reality, that the violence of that day will never be unseen. The pain from it will never be unfelt…and those precious, innocent lives will forever be lost.
Maybe that’s why it still hurts so bad…even three years later.
***Prayers are with my Boylston Street family today and my gratitude with the many who saved and supported us.
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