Struggling with a raspy voice, Mayor Tom Menino reassured the city in the days following the Boston Marathon bombing.

“Nothing can defeat the heart of this city. Nothing,” he said.

The Mayor was weakened and hospitalized himself when the bombs went off, but that didn’t stop him from turning his attention to the victims.

Menino had surgery on his leg two days earlier. He needed a cane to walk, but he downplayed his own pain that week.

“There was a lot of people who had more physical pain than I did. I wasn’t worried about myself…because people were nervous. no one expected this in Boston,” Menino said.

Three days later at a church service with the president, he willed himself to stand, something he told NBC’s Brian Williams he had to do.

Just a couple of days after the bombing Liz Norden was in the hospital room with her son, J.P., who was recovering from surgery after losing his leg in the bombing. She says the mayor was wheeled in and offered words of comfort.

“Mayor Menino came into the room and his words of encouragement, and he vowed that he would get to the bottom of it. He apologized for what happened and a tear ran down his eyes,” Norden said.

Menino visited a number of bombing victims at the time; he said there wasn’t any hesitation to do it.

“There was a lot of people who had a lot more physical pain than I did. I wasn’t worried about myself. People were very nervous, nobody ever expected this to happen in Boston,” the former mayor said.

The victims say they were astonished and heartened that the mayor would take time out for them during his own recovery.

“You’re at the darkest point of your life but he made you feel comforted, like everything was going to be alright,” Norden said.

Former Boston Mayor Ray Flynn agrees, saying Menino went on to lead the city through the frightening and violent events of that week.

“Tommy was there and he gave the city comfort. The police had leadership, the city had leadership and direction. I said I thought that was his biggest accomplishment, how he dealt with the Boston Marathon and the bombing situation,” Flynn said.

Liz Norden says she’ll never forget Menino’s display of caring, courage and leadership. She says he was with the bombing victims and their families every step of the way.

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