Boston, MA, United States (4E Sports) – The first anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings was marked by a solemn ceremony and stirring tribute to the victims, survivors and those who helped Boston overcome the tragic event.
The tribute was capped by a flag-raising ceremony at the Boston Marathon finish line in Copley Square with survivors, public officials and first responders in attendance.
Then, church bells tolled at 2:50 p.m., the moment the bombs went off exactly one year ago.
There were speeches from survivors, dignitaries and elected officials, as well as musical interludes led by the Boston Pops Esplanade and the Boston Children’s Chorus, at the event hall of the Hynes Convention Center.
Rev. Liz Walker of Roxbury Presbyterian Church, began his speech by uttering the words, “There is a rising”, in reference to the community’s remarkable rise from the ashes, as well as each of the victim’s personal journeys from pain and sadness to triumph and resolve.
“There is no way to walk to Boylston Street without being reminded of the evil spilling of precious blood, the hateful strike on a world treasure,” Walker continued. “But we are also reminded of the amazing capacity of the human spirit to rise in heroism, compassion and sacrifice.”
“An ascension of the human spirit, left to its own devices, its divine design, it will rise, despite anything, despite everything,” he added.
Walker was the first to reference the victims by name. She touched on the remarkable qualities of Lingzi Lu, Krystle Campbell, Sean Collier and 8-year-old Martin Richard, qualities their loved ones retain in their memories.
Boston Athletic Association executive director Tom Grilk then took the stage to acknowledge the first responders, medical professionals, marathon volunteers and elected officials.
The next rousing ovation came for former mayor Thomas Menino, who memorably left the hospital, where he was recovering from surgery to repair a broken leg to be a part of the immediate recovery a year ago. Menino acknowledged that April 15 will forever by a difficult day, but that the community he adores will always be strong.
“Although the memories still bring tears to our eyes, our heart aches for those who were lost, it still is a comfort to be here with family and friends who got us through that tragic day,” Menino said.
Vice President Joe Biden also took the stage, saying he’s been deeply moved by all that he had seen and heard.
“I’ve never, never, never witnessed a tribute like I’ve heard today,” Biden said after noting his long career in public service. “Jill and I are honored to be asked back. Let me say to those survivors, my God you have survived and soared. It was worth it.”