BOSTON -- A memorial for the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings ended Tuesday with a thunderous speech from Vice President Joe Biden, who closed an afternoon highlighting remarks from bombing survivors and dignitaries.
"We will never yield, we will never cower, America will never ever, ever stand down," Biden said. "We are Boston. We are America. We respond, we endure, we overcome, and we own the finish line! God bless you all, and may God protect our troops."
The afternoon will continue with a flag-raising and a moment of silence at the marathon finish line at 2:49 p.m., the moment the bombs exploded.
In Washington, President Obama planned to observe the anniversary with a private moment of silence at the White House.
One year after two pressure-cooker bombs tore through the crowd at the finish line at the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring more than 260 others, people throughout the city are pausing to reflect on the day with tributes, prayers, speeches and music.
At a private ceremony in the morning, families of the victims placed wreaths at the two bombing sites -- in front of the Forum restaurant on Boston's Boylston Street, and near Marathon Sports a block away. Police honor guards will stand sentry around the wreaths all day.
The marathon will be held this year on Monday. It is expected to be the second most crowded field ever, after the marathon's centennial in 1996.
Biden spoke at the city tribute at the Hynes Convention Center close to the bombings. Both families and public figures attended the event, including the family of victim Lu Lingzi, who came from China for it.
A year after the marathon, many victims who previously had not spoken to the media have been featured in local Boston papers and TV stations. The family of Martin Richard, 8, who was killed in the bombing, appeared in a lengthy two-part Boston Globe story about recovering from the bombing. Jane Richard, Martin's sister, who is now 8, lost a leg in the bombing.
Signs along the Boylston Street finish line area remind residents to be "Boston Strong," but no formal memorial has been erected at the bombing sites. Still, those who were near the finish line a year ago say they think about it every day.
Gerardo DeFabritiis is a manager at the Tannery, an upscale shoe and clothing store across from the site where the first bomb went off. His daughter and son-in-law were visiting the store on marathon day last year and were about to leave when he called them back in to see a new line of T-shirts. The bomb went off soon after.
"They would have been right there," he said, remembering, pointing to the spot where the bomb went off. He remembers walking outside after the bombing and seeing a woman on the ground, bleeding. He thinks about the bombing whenever he passes over that little piece of sidewalk.
He learned something from that day, he said, "When your time comes, your time comes."