Boston will on Tuesday mark the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing, which killed three people, injured hundreds and cast a cloud of violence over one of the country's most iconic sporting events.
Joe Biden, the US vice-president, will lead Boston in remembrance at a memorial ceremony close to the race's finishing line on Boylston Street in the heart of the city.
At 2.49pm, the time the two pressure bombs detonated on April 15 last year, Boston will fall silent in a moment of respect. President Barack Obama will observe the same moment of silence from the White House.
The tribute will mark a year of recovery for both Boston and the hundreds of people maimed and wounded in the hail of shrapnel that tore through the crowd of onlookers.
While many families were caught in the blast, none suffered more than the Richard family. Eight-year-old Martin Richard was killed by the explosion, while his younger sister, Jane, lost her left leg.
Their mother, Denise, was left blind in one eye while their father, Bill, needed two operations to repair ear drums burst by the blast. Only their eldest, 11-year-old Henry, escaped physically unscarred.
"A day doesn't pass when we don't cry over the loss of Martin, but we also laugh when we think about him, which feels like the right way to remember a little boy with a zest for life and a caring heart," the family said in a statement.
But the Richards also noted that Jane, now eight, was walking on an advanced prosthetic "Cheetah" leg, sometimes used by Paralympic athletes.
"Never self-conscious and always smiling, Jane has worn it to school several times which speaks to the can-do spirit she has displayed over the last 11 months," the family said.
Martin Richard, bottom right, was with his family watching the marathon. Only his brother Henry escaped physically unscarred
Next Monday, the Boston Marathon will return to the city for the 118th time and up to a million spectators are expected to cheer runners along the punishing 26-mile route.
More than 5,000 runners were unable to finish the race last year and many will return next week to complete the run.
Among them will be Peter Holton, 60, an accountant from Derby, who was just half a mile from the finish when the bombs exploded. "I am coming back to show support and pay tribute to the people of Boston," he said.
Both today's ceremony and the Marathon itself will take place under heavy security and this morning SWAT police patrolled the streets around the finish line.
"There's always the question of could something happen again," said David Sapers, whose Boylston Street sweet shop, Sugar Heaven, will be partially occupied by Secret Service agents during Mr Biden's visit. "But we want to get on and celebrate the Marathon and all the good things that come with it."
Memorials for Martin Richard, Lingzi Lu and Krystle Campbell near the finish line of the Boston Marathon (AP)
Mr Biden will be joined at the memorial ceremony by Deval Patrick, the governor of Massachusetts, and Marty Walsh, the new mayor of Boston.
None of the men are expected to mention the name Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving of the two bombing suspects who is being held in solitary confinement thirty miles outside the city, awaiting a trial due to begin in November.
Earlier this year, prosecutors announced they would seek the death penalty for the 20-year-old Chechen refugee who became an American citizen, calling his alleged crimes a "betrayal of the United States".
In his brief court appearances, Tsarnaev has shown no remorse and provocatively blew kisses in the courtroom as he pleaded not guilty to murder and terrorism charges.