Boston remembers victims killed, injured at marathon

Updated: 2014-04-16 11:32

By Ai Heping and Hu Haidan in New York (China Daily USA)

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One year to the day after the Boston Marathon blasts killed three people, they were remembered in solemn tributes by their families, the survivors and those who came to their aid.

From Tuesday morning until 2:49 pm, the exact moment of the first of two blasts, it was a day of wreath laying, prayers, tears, hugs, words of comfort and silence.

The bombs killed Lu Lingzi, 23, a Chinese graduate student at Boston University, Martin Richard, 8, and Krystle Campbell, 29. Sean Collier, a police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was killed in the aftermath of the blasts. More than 260 other people were injured, including Zhou Danling, a friend of Lu's and also a graduate student from China at the school.

The anniversary was marked Tuesday morning first with a private solemn wreath-laying ceremony at the site of the two bombs that exploded near the Marathon finish line. A bagpiper played "Amazing Grace" in light rain after a prayer while an honor guard stood at attention. A second wreath-laying ceremony was also held a short distance down Boylston Street where the second blast went off.

At the Hynes Convention Center, not far from the marathon finish line, survivors and dignitaries spoke, including Vice-President Joe Biden.

Roxbury Presbyterian Church Rev. Liz Walker recalled all four of the slain.

"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, heart and sparking eyes, music and guilelessness, a welcome 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."

Lou Xiabing, 25, who came to the United States in 2011 and is a PhD candidate in chemistry at Harvard University, also remembered Lu, even though he said he did not know her.

"It's hard to believe that she is gone," he told China Daily.

"When the tragedy happened last year, I was not close to the bombing spot. I saw the news on my smartphone and felt so shocked."

He said he and fellow Chinese friends will go to the marathon next week.

"I am not afraid of standing near the finishing line," he said. "I am confident about the security and police in Boston."

Biden told the invitation-only audience of about 2,500 people that the courage shown by survivors and those who lost loved ones is an inspiration for other Americans dealing with loss and tragedy.

"Next Monday, on Patriots' Day, when I'm told up to 36,000 people will line up to start the marathon, you will send a resounding message around the world not just to rest of the world, but to the terrorists that we will never yield. We will never cower," he said. "America will never, ever, ever stand down. We are Boston. We are America. We respond. We endure. We overcome. And we own the finish line."

In Washington, President Barack Obama observed the day with a private moment of silence at the White House. In a statement, he recalled the people who were killed.

"One year later, we also stand in awe of the men and women who continue to inspire us, learning to stand, walk, dance and run again. With each new step our country is moved by the resilience of a community and a city," the president said. "And when the sun rises over Boylston Street next Monday - Patriot's Day - hundreds of thousands will come together to show the world the meaning of Boston Strong as a city chooses to run again."

US Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement: "Today, my thoughts and prayers remain with those we lost and those still struggling to recover, and today we give thanks for the grace and grit of so many who defied the odds to walk and even run again on new legs."

Authorities say two brothers planned and orchestrated the attack and later shot and killed Collier during an attempt to steal his gun. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died following a shootout with police several 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.

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 Boston remembers victims killed, injured at marathon

Victim families, dignitaries, including US Vice-President Joe Biden (front row center) and survivors participate in a flag raising ceremony at the finish line in Boston, Massachusetts on Tuesday, on the one-year anniversary of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings in tribute to the three people killed and 264 wounded in the attack. Brian Snyder / Reuters

(China Daily USA 04/16/2014 page1)