Sunday 28 December 2014

Survivors, families and first responders mark anniversary of Boston Marathon bombings

Published 15/04/2014 | 22:33

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 15:  Tom Duggan hugs Sarah Rogo, who said they were both present last year at the marathon, while a billboard television screen broadcasts the ceremony commemorating the one year anniversary of the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing , on April 15, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts. Last year, two pressure cooker bombs killed three and injured an estimated 264 others during the Boston marathon, on April 15, 2013. Neary says she was standing near the site of the bombing before it went off.  (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images) *** BESTPIX ***
Tom Duggan hugs Sarah Rogo, who said they were both present last year at the marathon, while a billboard television screen broadcasts the ceremony commemorating the one year anniversary of the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing
A woman crosses herself while observing the site of the second explosion after the ceremony commemorating the one year anniversary of the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing
A couple pauses while observing the site of the second explosion after the ceremony commemorating the one year anniversary of the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing
A man wipes his eyes while observing the site of the second explosion after the ceremony commemorating the one year anniversary of the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing
The family of Martin Richard including Bill Richard and other members of the victims families stand during a wreath-laying ceremony commemorating the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings on Boylston Street near the finish line
Sharon Neary, of Rochester, New York, cries while watching a billboard television screen broadcasting the ceremony commemorating the one year anniversary of the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing
A man and woman embrace after the ceremony commemorating the one year anniversary of the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing
Carlos Arredondo, a first responder to the Boston Marathon bombings, and his wife Melida greet onlookers during the flag raising ceremony commemorating the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings
Family members of the victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings are joined by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick (baseball cap, L) and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh (3rd R) as they walk to the finish line for a wreath-laying ceremony at the site of the first bomb blast in Boston
Boston Police stand beneath a Boston Strong sign near the site of one of the two bomb blasts on the one-year anniversary of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings in Boston
Kevin Brown puts up a hand made memorial for victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings near the race's finish line in Boston
Boston Marathon bombing survivor Erika Brannock crosses the finish line following a ceremony on the one-year anniversary of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings in Boston
Color guards from several departments march down Boylston Street after a flag-raising ceremony on the one-year anniversary of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings in Boston
Pedestrians pass by blue and yellow banners near the site of one of the two bomb blasts on the one-year anniversary of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings in Boston
Former Boston Mayor Tom Menino (2nd L) wipes his face during a moment of silence with current Boston Mayor Marty Walsh (3rd L), U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (C), Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick (2nd R) and Boston Athletic Association Executive Director Tom Grilk, during a ceremony at the finish line on the one-year anniversary of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings
Dignitaries, survivors and first responders walk down Boylston Street to the finish line for a ceremony to mark the one-year anniversary of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings in Boston
Honor guards march after a flag-raising ceremony near the site of one of the two bomb blasts on the one-year anniversary of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings in Boston

Survivors, first responders and family members of those killed came together on Tuesday to mark the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing with solemn ceremonies.

Former Mayor Thomas Menino addressed an invitation-only audience of about 2,500 people gathered at the Hynes Convention Centre, not far from the marathon finish line where three people died and more than 260 others were wounded a year ago.

"This day will always be hard, but this place will always be strong," he said.

In Washington, President Barack Obama planned to observe the anniversary with a private moment of silence at the White House.

"Today, we recognise the incredible courage and leadership of so many Bostonians in the wake of unspeakable tragedy," Mr 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."

Mr 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".

Vice President Joe Biden was in Boston for the ceremony, and he said the courage shown by survivors and those who lost loved ones is an inspiration for other Americans dealing with loss and tragedy. He praised four survivors who spoke before he did and said that though he's not a Boston sports fan, Boston is an incredible city.

"We are Boston. We are America. We respond. We endure. We overcome. And we own the finish line," he concluded, to loud applause.

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 relatives of Massachusetts Institute of Technology police Officer Sean Collier, who was killed in the aftermath of the blasts.

Governor Deval Patrick, Mayor Martin J Walsh and Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley were among those who attended the morning ceremony held in a light rain as bagpipes played. Cardinal O'Malley offered a prayer.

The victims were also honored at the Hynes centre, where the survivors who spoke included newlywed Patrick Downes and dancer Adrianne Haslet-Davis, both of whom lost their lower left legs in the bombings.

At 2:49 pm, a moment of silence was held at the marathon finish line, to mark the time and place where two bombs exploded last April 15. It was followed by a flag-raising by officer Richard Donohue, who was badly wounded in a shootout with the bombing suspects.

Authorities say two brothers planned and orchestrated the attack and later shot and killed Mr Collier during an attempt to steal his gun. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died following a shootout with police days after the bombings. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 20, has pleaded not guilty to 30 federal charges and is awaiting trial. He faces the possibility of the death penalty.

The Tsarnaevs, ethnic Chechens who lived in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan and the Dagestan region of Russia, settled outside Boston more than a decade ago after moving to the US as children with their family.

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