‘Boston Strong, forever’: Many gather in resilience, memory of 2013 bombings

April 15, 2023 11:08 pm • Last Updated: April 15, 2023 11:12 pm

By Lance Reynolds, Boston Herald

BOSTON — A little more than an hour after daybreak, a bagpiper led a procession of family members who marched with Mayor Michelle Wu and Gov. Maura Healey toward the Boston Marathon finish line on Boylston Street.

Ten years ago, terrorist brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev bombed the 117th running of the marathon, killing three spectators and injuring hundreds more. Two police officers died in the aftermath of the bombings.

Families of those killed as well as Wu and Healey gathered for a solemn ceremony early Saturday morning, remembering their losses but also acknowledging the strength and resilience that followed the unfathomable tragedy.

Wu said she couldn’t help but think about being a mother to her 5- and 8-year-old sons throughout One Boston Day, which has become an annual holiday in the city, when many people across the region conduct community service projects in honor of the victims.

“There’s nothing like a mother’s love,” the mayor said, “and to know what many of these moms and families have gone through, it takes unthinkable grace, strength and love to be able to, 10 years later, to still be doing good in the community.”

Wu’s comments came after a powerful remembrance ceremony held in the area of Boylston Street finish line Saturday afternoon.

A public address announcer walked the crowd through the events of April 15, 2013, and the days that followed.

A brass quintet from the Boston Pops and members of Boston City Singers Tour Choir played “Amazing Grace” and “America the Beautiful” at either end of a ringing of the bells ceremony at 2:48 p.m., when the first bomb went off 10 years ago.

A new finish line and a One Boston Day marker also were unveiled during the half-hour ceremony. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., spoke with families before and after about their losses but mostly about the future.

“That’s why every one of the survivors is here: To carry forward that message that we did not stop in that moment of pain, we did not stop in that moment of loss,” she said. “We turned every one of those losses … into something that moves us forward and makes us better.”

Milton native Jefferson Driscoll, 20, attended the remembrance event with his parents Robert and Maureen. Driscoll will be running in his first Boston Marathon on Monday for Team MR8, which raises funds for the Martin Richard Foundation in honor of the youngest victim killed during the bombings.

Driscoll attended Thayer Academy with Richard’s siblings, Jane, who lost a part of her leg during the bombing, and Henry, who may not have been wounded but still carries the pain of that day.

“It makes you think about what President Obama said to continue how we always continue to run,” Driscoll said. “That’s what MR8 stands for — to continue to run. Family, faith, MR8, that’s my motto. As Big Papi said, ‘This is our city.’ Boston Strong, forever.”

Shrewsbury resident Chris Knight is running his 13th consecutive Boston Marathon. He was a half mile away from the finish line when the bombs went off in 2013.

“There is reverence for what happened and commemorating and honoring those people,” he said. “We will never forget those people because they are heroes out there.”

‘Boston Strong, forever’: Many gather in resilience, memory of 2013 bombings