'We will remember': Boston pauses to reflect on anniversary of bombings

April 15, 2014, 10:24 am
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(NECN) - "We will remember," said the Rev. Liz Walker of Roxbury Presbyterian Church, leading off Tuesday's tribute to those affected by the Boston Marathon bombings.

She went on to recall the three people killed on April 15, 2013 - Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell and Lingzi Lu, as well as MIT Officer Sean Collier, who died in a shootout with bombing suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev several days later.

"Today, we remember Krystle Campbell. Her energy and zest, her adventure and passion. A generosity of spirit, a light that will never fade," Walker said. "We remember Lingzi Lu - her heart and sparkling eyes, music and guilelessness. A welcome dream of a smile that beams forever. We remember Martin Richard. Tough and competitive, kind and caring. A Dorchester kid through and through. And we will remember Sean Collier. Dedicated, with honor, trusted and respected. Badge 310. We will remember..."

Vice President Joe Biden also spoke at the tribute at the Hynes Convention Center, praising the survivors of the marathon bombings.

"You're living proof that American can never, ever be defeated," Biden said. "So much has been taken from you, but you've never given up. Not even on those tough days when you were lying in a hospital bed and saying, 'God, I don't know how long I can do this anymore. I don't want to do this anymore.' But you've mustered the courage and you got up and kept going. And you've brought a lot of other people with you. You're here, you're undeterred and you're unyielding.

"You have become the face of America's resolve..." Biden added. "You are Boston Strong."

Former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino spoke of "the place where our lives broke apart," 365 days ago today.

"It's an honor to be able to thank and embrace the first responders," he said. "The doctors and nurses who stopped your bleeding, closed your wounds, saved your lives so you are here with us."

He promised that he and the people of the city of Boston will always be there for the families of those who died and the survivors of the bombing.

"When the lights are dim and the cameras go away, know that our support and love for you will never waver," Menino said. "Know that the people of Boston and I are right there by your side."

Marathon bombing survivors Patrick Downes, Luis and David Yepez and Adrianne Haslet-Davis shared their stories of recovery.

"Although your journey has not been easy and the road is still long, your inner strength, determination and resolve displayed these last 12 months have made you an inspiration to many," Luis Yepez said to his fellow survivors. "Each step forward is a step away from the past and a step toward a new tomorrow."

Haslet-Davis, a dancer who lost her lower left leg in the bombings, spoke of lessons learned over the past year.

"No milestone is too small to celebrate," she said. "Even walking into a non-handicapped bathroom stall for the first time, doing a happy dance. It's the little things."

She said her wish is that April 15 will become not only a day of remembrance, but also a day of action.

"Let April 15 be a day that we all work together to make this world a better place. The biggest lesson I have learned is that something in your life, in anyone's life, can go horrifically wrong at any second. But it is up to us to make every second count, because believe me, they do."

A flag-raising and a moment of silence were held at the marathon finish line at 2:49 p.m., when the bombs went off one year ago. Biden, Walsh, Menino and Gov. Deval Patrick were among those in attendance.

The day of remembrance started off with a panel discussion at Massachusetts General Hospital entitled "MGH First Responders: Perspectives and Lessons Learned." Menino delivered the introductory remarks, calling the medical responders "heroes," and the victims of the attacks "the most resilient group I've ever met."

On Tuesday evening, a "One Year Later: Remembrance and Hope" event was held at the Old South Church. A candlelight vigil was also held in Dorchester.

Be sure to check out all of NECN's "Boston: One Year Stronger" coverage. You can also view an interactive map of the marathon route, including interviews with some of the people who live and work along the course

For up-to-the-minute news and weather, be sure to follow NECN on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

Tags: Boston Marathon, Boston Athletic Association
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