At 2:49 p.m. church bells rang throughout Boston on Wednesday as the city hushed for a moment of silence to mark the exact time two years ago when two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
The blasts killed three onlookers -- Krystle Campbell, 29, Lu Lingzi, 23, and Martin Richard, 8 -- and wounded more than 260 people, leaving 17 victims as amputees. On Wednesday, survivors and victims’ family members gathered at the blast site to commemorate the anniversary.
Martin’s family was on hand as the city unfurled new banners on Boylston Street with a street and the word “Boston” emblazoned over a heart logo. Televised footage showed Richard’s sister, Jane, 6, who lost a leg in the bombing, standing by as her brother, Henry, helped unfurl the banners with Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh.
Walsh announced April 15 would henceforth be known as One Boston Day, a day of service.
“One Boston Day is a day that’s going to stand for giving back to the community, where we’re going to be providing acts of kindness, also helping people, doing community service … talking to an elderly neighbor next door, picking up their trash, going shopping for them,” Walsh said in a video promoting the announcement. "It’s a day for us to truly rally around Boston … taking something tragic and turning it into a very positive thing.”
Of the two bombers, Tamerlan Tsarnaev is dead and his brother, Dzhokhar, was convicted on April 8 of helping carry out the attack, apparently as revenge for Muslims killed during American wars in the Middle East.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, whose guilt was never in doubt, still faces the penalty phase of his federal trial, which will determine whether he receives the death penalty.
Those proceedings are set to begin Tuesday, the day after this year’s marathon, which, as with previous races, is expected to draw runners from around the world. Judge George O’Toole has ordered jurors not to attend this year’s festivities.
With Tsarnaev’s conviction in hand, other stories have been claiming Boston’s attention.
The city is shaking off the snowiest winter on record and local officials have been trying to salvage a heavily criticized bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics.
On Wednesday, Boston’s news outlets devoted much greater attention to the announcement of a guilty verdict for former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez, who had been accused of murdering Odin Lloyd. He received life in prison.
The gripping trial played out the same time as Tsarnaev’s, and on Wednesday morning, Boston Globe readers had to scroll down to find news of the bombing’s second anniversary.
But that doesn’t mean Boston has forgotten the bombing, and especially not its victims.
The crowd that gathered at Wednesday’s ceremony included bombing survivor Jeff Bauman, who lost both legs, and the man who helped save him, the cowboy hat-wearing peace activist Carlos Arredondo.
“We’re out here to pay tribute to the people who lost their lives, very young people that lost their lives, and I’m thankful that I’m here and that I got to go live out the rest of my life,” Bauman told FOX 25. “I’m just thankful.... Every day I walk for them, because they’re not here.”
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