Boston marks 5 years since marathon attack with tributes, acts of kindness
It was a day filled with community service and commemorations in honor of victims and survivors of the deadly Boston Marathon bombings five years ago.
Boston began the fifth anniversary of the attacks Sunday with Mayor Marty Walsh and Gov. Charlie Baker laying wreaths early in the morning at the spots along downtown’s Boylston Street where two bombs killed three spectators and injured more than 260 others April 15, 2013.
Both elected officials addressed families and survivors at a private ceremony inside the Boston Public Library.
“On April 15, 2013, our city changed forever, but over the last five years, we have reclaimed hope. We have reclaimed the finish line and Boston has emerged with a new strength, a resilience rooted in love,” Walsh said.
Jane and Henry Richard, siblings of the youngest victim, 8-year-old Martin Richard, and members of the family’s foundation also spoke.
Henry Richard urged those listening to follow Martin’s message to “choose kindness and do more.” The family’s foundation was started in 2014 to connect young people with opportunities for volunteerism and community engagement.
Sherman Yee, uncle of 23-year-old victim Lu Lingzi, was present at the ceremony and private gathering. “The family has been ‘overwhelmed by love and support from all over the world,’ ” he said. He called Lu an “extraordinary girl” who represented the youth that come to the U.S. from China to study.
“While she didn’t realize her dreams, as her family we invest in the youths through our foundation to keep her memory going,” he said.
The bombs also killed 29-year-old Krystle Campbell of Arlington, Mass. Officer Sean Collier of MIT campus police was killed in the line of duty during a confrontation with bomber Tamerlan Tzarneav.
Roxanne Simmonds was at commemorative ceremonies to honor her son, fallen Boston Police Officer Dennis Simmonds. Simmonds suffered a head injury April 19, 2013, during a shootout with Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev as law enforcement closed in on them.
He suffered a fatal brain aneurysm a year later that was assessed to be the result of his injuries from the explosive device. Roxanne Simmonds said “DJ” was “brilliant and fearless — he just loved Boston.”
The youngest graduate of his class at Lasell College, Dennis Simmonds worked in the Mattapan neighborhood as an officer.
“It was important for him to be in a community with men and women who look like him,” his mother said. “Individuals of color working hard to make sure their communities were safe.” She praised Walsh, saying that it was obvious how significant the victims are to the mayor.
Arreen Andrew of Boston said she was in the crowd when the first bomb went off in 2013.
“It was sheer panic,” she recalled. “Just this sense of ‘No, this can’t happen to us.’ ”
Five years later, though April 15 is still a reminder of some painful memories, she said it has also become a day about the relationships that have since been formed and “reformed and recreated our entire community.”
At 2:49 p.m., the bells of Old South Church rang as Boston held a citywide moment of silence to mark the moment when the first bomb exploded. Sunday is One Boston Day, devoted to blood drives and acts of kindness.
Security is tight for Monday’s 122nd running of the iconic race.
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