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Nation pauses with Boston, pays solemn tribute to marathon bombing anniversary

BOSTON (AP) -- Survivors, first responders and family members of those killed in the Boston Marathon bombing marked the anniversary Tuesday with tributes that combined sorrow over the loss of innocent victims with pride over Boston's resilience in the face of a terror attack.

"This day will always be hard, but this place will always be strong," former Mayor Thomas Menino told an invitation-only audience of about 2,500 people at the Hynes Convention Center, not far from the finish line where three people died and more than 260 others were injured a year ago.

Vice President Joe Biden, who attended the ceremony, said the courage shown by survivors and those who lost loved ones is an inspiration for other Americans dealing with loss and tragedy.

"You have become the face of America's resolve," he said.

Biden also praised the 36,000 runners who plan to run the marathon next week, saying they will send a message to terrorists.

"America will never, ever, ever stand down," he said, to loud applause. He added, "We own the finish line."

In Washington, President Barack Obama was observing the anniversary with a private moment of silence at the White House.

"Today, we recognize the incredible courage and leadership of so many Bostonians in the wake of unspeakable tragedy," Obama said in a statement. "And we offer our deepest gratitude to the courageous firefighters, police officers, medical professionals, runners and spectators who, in an instant, displayed the spirit Boston was built on - perseverance, freedom and love."

Obama said this year's race, scheduled for Monday, will "show the world the meaning of Boston Strong as a city chooses to run again."

Authorities say two brothers - ethnic Chechens who lived in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan and the Dagestan region of Russia - planned and orchestrated the twin bombings near the marathon finish line on April 15, 2013.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died following a shootout with police several days after the bombings. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 20, has pleaded not guilty to 30 federal charges and is awaiting a trial in which he faces a possible death sentence. Prosecutors say the brothers also killed MIT police Officer Sean Collier several days after the bombings in an attempt to steal his gun.

Prosecutors have said Dzhokhar Tsarnaev left a hand-scrawled confession condemning U.S. actions in Muslim countries on the inside wall of a boat he was found hiding in following the police shootout.

At the tribute, several survivors of the bombing alluded to their injuries, but focused mainly on the strength they've drawn from fellow survivors, first responders, doctors, nurses and strangers who have offered them support.

"We should never have met this way, be we are so grateful for each other," said Patrick Downes, a newlywed who was injured along with his wife. Each lost a left leg below the knee in the bombings.

Downes described "Boston Strong," the slogan coined after the attack, as a movement that symbolizes the city's determination to recover. He called the people who died "our guardian angels."

"We will carry them in our hearts," he said.

Downes said the city on Monday will "show the world what Boston represents."

He added, "For our guardian angels, let them hear us roar."

Adrianne Haslet-Davis, a ballroom dancer who lost her left leg below the knee and has recently returned to performing on a prosthetic leg, said she's learned over the last year that no milestone is too small to celebrate, including walking into a non-handicapped bathroom stall for the first time and "doing a happy dance."

Gov. Deval Patrick spoke of how the attack has drawn people closer.

"There are no strangers here," he repeated throughout his speech.

Carlos Arredondo, the cowboy hat-wearing spectator who was hailed as a hero for helping the wounded after the bombings, said he came to the tribute ceremony to support survivors and their families.

"You can see how the whole community gathered together to support them and remember," Arredondo said.

After the tributes, many of those in attendance walked in the rain to the finish line for a moment of silence that coincided with the time when the bombs went off. Bells rang and a flag was raised by MBTA police Officer Richard Donohue, who was badly injured during a shootout with the bombing suspects.

Earlier in the day, a wreath-laying ceremony drew the families of the three people killed - Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell and Lu Lingzi - as well as Collier's relatives.


Join the discussion

1000|Char. 1000  Char.
BOB April 16 2014 at 7:10 AM

Its amazing how weatherman and politicians can be so wrong and not do thier jobs , but still get to keep thier jobs . We " commoners " would lose our jobs making mistakes so often . Common sense is long gone and the repeated lies now seem to be only thing we are told .

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2 replies
nam2205 BOB April 16 2014 at 7:14 AM

Yes, If your a politician like Biden all you have to do is go to things like this and make believe that you care.

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a1mogreen BOB April 16 2014 at 7:18 AM

What jobs? You have jobs?

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slocumsearay April 15 2014 at 11:16 PM

prayers to all the victoms and familys

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OhReally April 15 2014 at 10:55 PM

Why do the terrorists always attack the liberal bastions of the U.S.?

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1 reply
kcarthey OhReally April 16 2014 at 12:54 AM

Because terrorists be they foreign or domestic such as the guy in Kansas City or the many who bomb abortion clinics are overwelmingly Conservative.

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boyle1034 April 15 2014 at 7:35 PM

How very sad and yet how triumphant is the human spirit. The marathon will go on as long as America goes on only now will have more runners from China running in the memory of a beautiful young Chinese student who lives on larger then she could have imagined; in our hearts and memories in our tears and still finally in our sense of triumph over evil..as the future will see more Chinese coming to America to pursue their dream and enjoy the marathon in safety!

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sanmc58 April 15 2014 at 6:40 PM

For al
For all those people who are filled with hate anger and judgement about our victims of the Marathon Bombing here in Boston. This is not the day for any of that. As the moment of silence happened, I went outside and there was an eerie quiet in a usually busy neighborhood. That's what we want today.

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1 reply
matilda524 sanmc58 April 15 2014 at 10:22 PM

There's just nothing to do where they live.

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navretrd5 April 16 2014 at 7:34 AM


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lombardclark April 15 2014 at 6:36 PM

It was such a sad day for the country to have this happen... !! It was very scary that day for me and my family as my wonderful daughter-in-law was running in the race and was at the 25th mile at the time the bombs went off... My son and baby where there as spectators and so was my daughter in laws family... I am so great full to God that they were not injured however emotionally it was a very difficult day and time for them.. I hope and pray people will continue to remember those who are gone and those who were spared...I pray for each and everyone on this day... Love to All ...Carol

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1 reply
matilda524 lombardclark April 15 2014 at 9:53 PM

We here know what it was like - my son was at the finish line waiting for his girlfriend who was running and we couldn't reach him for hours because the cell service went down.

I would feel sad for this country by reading these nasty comments here, but they are nothing in comparison to the support and compassion that this City was blessed with from EVERY corner of this country.

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1 reply
catfree02 matilda524 April 15 2014 at 10:44 PM

matilda and lombardclark
my prayers are with you and all involved on that day... I read all these comments, and am so embarrased for these sick individuals who are using every story to post political hatred.
If people don't have anything comforting to say,, they should simply be very quiet.
God Bless you and peace, strength, and love to stay in your hearts.

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jurmik April 16 2014 at 7:26 AM

The 6 babies murdered in Ohio, ceremonies, speeches please.

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flamsnowmobile April 15 2014 at 8:10 PM


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Annewalker13 April 16 2014 at 6:08 AM

I believe the same way, the heroes are the people not the ones who want something for themselves

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