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Bostonians remember the deadly marathon bombing 10 years later

With a bagpiper playing “The Bells of Dunblane” and a few runners watching, families of Boston Marathon bombing victims marked the 10th anniversary of the tragedy early Saturday morning by slowly walking together and laying wreaths at the memorial site near the finish line.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, who was in her first run for City Council at the time of the bombings, joined the march along with Governor Maura Healy. At each memorial — marked by three stone pillars for the three victims — they stood silently with families. Later in the day a short ceremony will be held at the finish line of the marathon, with bells tolling and a moment of silence.

The 127th running of the Boston Marathon took place on Monday.

Boston Marathon

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu walks during a wreath-laying ceremony at a memorial for victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, Saturday, April 15, 2023, in Boston.

Reba Saldanha/AP

“That day never leaves me,” said Jennifer Black, 71, a realtor from Loveland, Ohio, who watched the march and described how her race in 2013 was cut short by the bombings and spoke about those who died in the attacks. He returned to Boston to run this year.

“So much loss, so much pain because of all the hate,” she continued, tears streaming down her face. “We have to stand up for people. We have to look out for each other, and we have to pray for this family every day.”

Standing next to Black, Karen Russell of Boston said she felt it was important to witness the march, especially on the 10th anniversary.

“Families are still suffering even as we move on,” Russell said. “A lot of people were hurt that day and that pain will never go away. … I think it’s important to be here to let them know that we still care.”

Two pressure-cooker bombs exploded at the marathon finish line, killing three and injuring more than 260. Among the dead were Lu Lingzhi, a 23-year-old graduate student at Boston University in China; Crystal Campbell, a 29-year-old restaurant manager from Medford, Massachusetts; and 8-year-old Martin Richard, who visited the marathon with his family.

During a tense, four-day manhunt that paralyzed the city, Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer Sean Collier was shot and killed in his car. Boston police officer Dennis Simmonds also died a year after being wounded in a confrontation with the bombers.

Police caught a bloodied and injured Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in the Boston suburb of Watertown, where he was hiding in a boat parked behind a house hours after his brother died. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was in a shootout with police and was killed by his brother while fleeing.

“I think we’re all still living with those sad days 10 years ago,” former Boston Police Commissioner Bill Evans said recently.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was sentenced to death and in recent years, much of the attention has centered around his bid to avoid the death penalty.

A federal appeals court is considering Tsarnaev’s latest bid to avoid the death penalty. A three-judge panel of the 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston heard arguments in the 29-year-old’s case in January, but has yet to issue a ruling.

An appeals court initially overturned Tsarnaev’s death sentence in 2020, saying the trial judge did not adequately screen jurors for potential bias. But the US Supreme Court revived it last year.

The 1st Circuit is now considering whether other factors the Supreme Court did not consider require the death penalty to be tossed a second time. Among other things, Tsarnaev said the trial judge improperly rejected his challenge to two jurors who defense attorneys said lied on jury selection questions.

The bombings not only unified Boston — “Boston Strong” became the town’s rallying cry — but also inspired many in the running community and prompted scores affected by the terrorist attack to run the marathon. At memorial sites Saturday were several flower pots with the words “Boston Strong,” known as marathon daffodils.

“This really ignited and demonstrated our desire to continue to better the resilience of our sport and our city, and together to make the Boston Marathon better,” said Jack Fleming, President and CEO of the Boston Athletic Association. “The bombings in 2013 led to a new appreciation or a different appreciation for what Boston, the Boston Marathon, has always stood for, which is an expression of the freedom you get and get when you run.”

On Saturday, the focus will mostly be on remembering the victims and survivors of the bombings, but Woo said, “It was a moment to really make sure that the city and our communities, our families, focus on where we’re going in the future.”

That sentiment will be reflected in what has become known as “One Boston Day,” where acts of kindness and service are held to honor victims, survivors and first responders. This year, about two dozen community service projects are happening, including a shoe drive and several food drives, blood drives and neighborhood cleanups.

“This time of year evokes a strong emotion for many of us across the city and for those touched by tragedy ten years ago. But the most common one is that Boston is really strong, and our communities show up for each other in times of need,” Jacob Robinson, West Roxbury. The executive director of Main Streets, one of the groups hosting the shoe drive, said in a statement.

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