Meet the Press   |  April 13, 2014

Boston Strong: The Marathon Bombing One Year Later

David’s full discussion in Boston, MA with a special roundtable and a group of first responders on the impact of the bombing and how the city is recovering as we approach the one year anniversary.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> it is a phrase that sums up the strength and resilience of a city touched by tragedy. one year ago tuesday, two bombs exploded close to the finish line of the boston marathon killing three, injuring hundreds more. to get an understanding of how the city has changed, how its healed, i went to boston for a you a nek discussion with a special round table and an audience of first responders, some of whom were on the scene of the bombing on that horrible day. we are here in boston with boston harbor and the skyline of the city behind me to understand the impact of the attack on the city from people directly affected. joe andruzzi a patriots defensive lineman who was at the finish line , carried some of the injured from the scene. ed markey , democratic senator from the state of massachusetts . our good friend doris kearns goodwin is a long time bostonian, a resident here, and, of course, presidential historian. and ed davis is with us. he was the boston police commissioner at the time of the bombing. i'm also joined by an audience today that includes some terrific folks, first responders who did heroic work at the scene of the attacks as well as john tlumacki, a photographer who captured one of the most famous images of the day. thank you all for being here, thank you for your work, for your service that day and on all the days you provide your service, and we're going to talk about understanding one year later. before we do that though, i want to bring in our harry smith whos had this report on how boston is still trying to come to terms with the events of a year ago.

>> reporter: you can tell a lot by the looks on people's faces. the wounds are not healed, not yet. at the boston public library , there's an exhibit of mementos from the miakeshift memorials that appeared after the marathon bombing last year.

>> it's sad. of it brings back a lot of memories, a lot of, you know, fear, anxiety.

>> the mood is respectful, even sacred.

>> it takes a little while to absorb it, and i think you want to stand here with respect.

>> reporter: up boston street at the forum restaurant, site of the second explosion, manager chris loper says the memories are still fresh.

>> as you look up this street, that's where all the ambulances were coming from that day, so that's the one thing that sets you off a little bit, when the next time you see an ambulance and loud noises coming down that street, you certainly have flashbacks.

>> reporter: the city was violated and on a day the locals regard with no small amount of pride.

>> it hurt us. it hurt patriots day .

>> reporter: the boston marathon is run on patriots day a civic holiday here that people say is the best day of the year in boston . if you're not at the marathon , then you're at the red sox game that starts at 11:00 in the morning. it's a party. it's spring, and it's a holiday unique to boston because of what happened here april 19th , 1775 . it begins at the old north church, one if by land, two if by sea. paul revere 's ride to warn the militias in lexington and concord that the british were on their way. a battle immortalized in emerson's poem. by the bridge that arched the flood, their flag to april's breeze unfurled, here once the embattled farmer stood and fired the shot heard round the world . it was the beginning of the revolutionary war that re-enactors perform every year with duty to history. here more than a year before the declaration of independence was signed, men were willing to sacrifice everything for an idea, an ideal that would become the united states . as emerson said, a spirit that made those heroes dare to die and leave their children free. we free children are obliged to better remember those days. the marathon attack wasn't just meant for boston . it was aimed at all of us, at who we are, and how we live. so when the race is run this year and the game is played, let's not forget what happened last spring, nor what happened here in 1775 . for "meet the press," harry smith .

>> harry, thank you so much. doris kearns goodwin , we talk about patriots day and we're about to have it again and experience this event again one year later. for all the talk of resilience, there are a lot of wounds that don't heal, especially when you have to go back and relive them.

>> yeah. there's something, i'm sure, people are going to feel with the flashbacks, as was said, and yet i think going back to remember what it was like then and what it's like now, it's a really important thing. you have to learn from history, and there was resilience that took place during this period of time. the hardest thing i think about that day was they struck us at what is so special a holiday in boston . other holidays, mergemorial day, july 4th , we run around and get scattered. everybody goes to that sacred place. whether you go to the red sox game. we go to the minute men and then to the red sox game. it's a special moment to have that violated and yet somehow we came together as a city in part because of all these people who are here in the end.

>> right. senator?

>> doris is right. patriots day celebrates our liberty, our freedom. it is what the terrorists hate about us. it is the sense that everyone is equal. it is a sense that every religion is equal in the treatment which we give to it, and so this was a special place, a special day, and they knew that. it's the equivalent of for us kind of our most sacred day and there's a million people who come together on that day to watch the marathon . it is our common day of celebration , and they knew what they were doing. they knew exactly the impact that it would have upon us . and, in fact, they evoked just the opposite response. they had people standing up and responding and sacrificing and the resilience is ultimately what people are going to remember about that day.

>> and among those responders, the guy sitting to your right, this little fellow here, joe andruzzi , formerly with the patriots. joe andruzzi , thank you for being here. it's great to meet you. i have this photograph which i'll hold up and we'll show our viewers at home, but i wanted to hold it up and show it to you. you caring somebody who had been injured from the scene. tell me what's happening here.

>> we were at forum restaurant, my wife and i. we run the joe andruzzi foundation. we had our watch party at the forum, and we were at the finish line at that moment and were making our way back to forum after helping some people on boylston street to turn around. now making it back, and my wife, jen, pointing out now i know the daughter is in the picture were trying to carry the mom on their back snp.

>> did you hear the explosion?

>> yes. i was right at the finish line near the first explosion and found out an hour later the second one was at forum. my wife pointed out three girls trying to carry a woman on their back. i ran over and said let me help you. i picked her up and walked her down the block to an ambulance and tried to calm then down waiting for somebody to come over and help them out, and turned around and made my way back to forum.

>> joe tlumacki is here with us, today, " boston globe " photographer. and, joe , i think everybody has seen this image that you took in the immediate aftermath. you'd gone there as part of the pool, you know, as you had done in years past to capture people coming across the finish line . you're looking as any good photographer does, you're looking through the lens. tell me what you saw.

>> well, you know, first of all, it's an --

>> i called you joe . excuse me, john. sorry.

>> it's an honor to be a photographer at the finish line , you know, and it's probably my fifth year in that location right at the finish line , and i was standing there, and some of the better photos made during the marathon are ordinary people , not the elite runners. they're people who are struggling to get across the finish line , some fall, some are dressed in costumes. and that picture was taken probably seconds when first bomb went off 45 feet from me at the sidewalk. i instinctively just ran forward. i saw that runner, bill, fall to the ground, and i had the camera to my face. i felt the jolt from the explosion, and i just kept running, and the three police officers , one of them with her gun drawn, were running towards the officer -- i mean towards the runner. i think it was this confusion we had from talking to them also that we didn't know at first whether it was a cannon salute, a manhole cover exploded, but in that brief second, i think that photo shows the response that boston had. i mean, these police officers reacted without flinching to that moment.

>> what else did you see? how horrible was it? the immediate scene had to be surreal to you.

>> it was very difficult. it was like the saddest day of my life to have to go to the fence after that photo was taken to see what i saw. it was horrific. people were smoldering. you know, it was just a heap of people who were severely injured, and the thing that amazed me about it when the smoke cleared is that everybody was being helped, whether it was the ems, boston police , or firefighters were already there. and i just couldn't believe that response was that instantaneous.

>> ed davis , when you look at john's photograph, you see the images, the face of your officers at the time and what do you think about a year later as you look at that photograph?

>> well, i think that john has captured the essence of what it is to be a police officer . you can see in their eyes and in their actions that they are jumping into the fray, that they are about to respond to something that nobody expected, and it really is a moving picture that's become iconic for police everywhere. but, you know, you look in this audience and you see the firefighters and the emts, in 18 minutes that scene was cleared, all the victims were removed from the scene, and no one that was transported died. so whether it was the police or the other first responders who are represented here, it really is a remarkable tribute to the work they do.

>> mike bossy , your superintendent for boston ems , talk about how this experience changed the city.

>> like many others, i was born and raised here. i started going to the marathon as a small kid with my dad. it was a big event for him, and then to go later in life as a college student and party, and then go as a professional in my capacity and to be there that day was -- it was an honor to be able to serve the city like that.

>> at a time of such need.

>> absolutely. i take the events of that day very personal. this was an attack on my city, and i'll never forget it.

>> is it hard to think about it one year later, to go through it again?

>> i think we're all ready. i think we need to be there this year to return to some form of normal normalcy, and i think we'll do okay.

>> it's interesting, doris, former u.s. poet laureate robert pinsky wrote last year, boston will endure, the marathon will endure, we will celebrate again as we remember, but to some distint degree yet to be known the security of the normal will be for many of us diminished. you can't experience this without some sense that you're more vulnerable than you were before.

>> this is true. it's happening now, too. i'm sure everybody that goes this year will have a different feeling about being there, looking around. they can't carry bags like they did before. there's going to be double the police. all of which is a symbol of what happened last year, but they're coming, and there are going to be more spectators and it's going to happen again.

>> we haven't talked about something crucially important to recovery. are there any red sox fans here in our group? tell me your name and talk about the importance of the red sox as a team what they did to help this city heal.

>> my name is ken scarna, and i think we take a look at patriots day and from the very beginning, 11:00 in the morning, until the end of the race, it's just all about boston . crowds, it's a big family thing, and we take our responsibility very seriously, and i think when we had that insult to our city and someone like david ortiz gets up there and says for everyone to hear, this is our --

>> blank city.

>> yeah, it resonates with all of us because all of us felt that way, all of us felt this is an attack on us personally, an attack on our city, on a very special day, and for someone of that stature representing a team that is as loved in this city as boston , as the red sox are, to say this is our city and we're taking it back was very important. i think it was very pivotal in the healing.

>> i do believe sports is part of the healing process , and i have three brothers that are new york city firemen and they were down there during 9/11. one was running out of tower one when it was falling behind him, and it does become part of that healing process because when they came up, they came up and they honored. they were invited up for what they represented, not about the name on their back or they weren't there for me. they represented everyone that perished that day and all the first responders that were still out there and truly bringing the community together because we all are part of a community, and to be out there and for those three, four hours, whether it's baseball, basketball, football, whatever it is, it kind of gets your mind off of it a little bit and it's a healing process because time does heal wounds.

>> as you look back a year later, what lessons did you take away from the immediate response, the manhunt, ultimately the apprehension of these two figures?

>> well, the importance of preparation. they could not have picked a worse city to do this in for their goals. we had prepared for it. we had planned. and we were able to improvise on that plan as well. so there were a lot of heroes out there that day from the police, the fire, but also from the community.

>> the decision to effectively shut the city down as you were zeroing in on these suspects had to be stressful, not just because of the issue at hand, but how long could you have kept that going.

>> we briefed the governor and the mayor, gave them our best opinion, told them exactly what was happening at the time, and a lot of things that have happened have not played out publicly, but there was a real possibility that a cell had gone active, that it was a wider conspiracy. so the governor's focus was on saving lives and i think he made the right decision.

>> senator, your look back at that. were mistakes made? were there lessons to be learned from the days that followed?

>> i think there are, and, you know, we were prepared. we were boston strong because we were boston ready. the city was ready, and the commissioner had a lot to do with that, the people who are here. it was a lot of cooperation at the local level, and then we needed the bravery of people to respond on that day and they did, and the resilience of people afterwards, but right now we're looking back out at the city of boston , but we're here at logan airport , and this is where mohamed atta and the other nine hijacked the two planes on 9/11. this is where it began. and there were 150 people on those planes from boston , and the lessons of 9/11 were remembered here, and they were implemented and the equipment was put in place and the training was put in place and the coordination was put in place, and we saw that from the police, the fire, from the emergency medical technicians , the medical community, and from individual citizens like joe .

>> but do we have some follow-up, to stick with you, we have heard from mike mccaul , house hopeland security chairman, who said this past week we found that several flags and warnings were missed. this is particularly about tamerlan tsarnaev who is here, becomes radicalized at some point, and then travels overseas back to russia and then comes back.

>> this is the report which was issued yesterday, the unclassified report from the four inspectors general of the intelligence agencies , and it is clear that there were red flags that should have been raised, that tsarnaev was, in fact, oriented towards jihadism, that there were other clues that were out there that should have been followed up, that the information was not shared as widely and as readily as it should have been amongst the intelligence agencies right down to the local level where perhaps the local police , the local officials could have acted upon it. so we have to make sure this -- another report like this that is issued.

>> as we think about the tsarnaev brothers and the one brother who now faces trial, i want to get a few thoughts e sue schiller?

>> i think the points the panelists have made are excellent. the fluid interagency sharing of information is critical for all agencies to have what they need to do their specific jobs expertly. what i personally find very encouraging is something that j.c. cooper -- j.c.ramo said, which is we are a free and open society and that is something we want, something we want to keep, and with that comes the understanding that people are going to try and do us harm. we can't stop that. what we need to do is immunize ourselves so that when our system sees it, we can react appropriately and engage effectively.

>> i think for me, i think much as deputy schiller mentioned, we are used to the fact that in the post-9/11 era, that terrorism, homegrown or otherwise, is a fact of our lives. but what outrages me the most is the apologists for folks who perpetrate this. we have a free society . it comes with its baggage, with its price, and i'm willing to accept that and defend our rights, our liberties. what i take exception to is people who reap the benefit of our liberties and then will make excuses for individuals who are trying to take those liberties away from us. okay? i'm sorry if there was something in his childhood that made him turn to jihadism and he took his brother along for the ride. i'm sorry for that. however, let's keep in mind people lost their lives. he damaged our city. there are people whose lives have been irreparably damaged, countless levels, and we need to stop apologizing for his behavior and have him take -- make him take responsibility for his actions and we have to take responsibility for making ourselves stronger against that.

>> i mean, i guess what i'd like to understand and ask to use another writer is hemingway said everyone is broken by life, but afterwards many are stronger in the broken places. this city was broken for a while. new york was broken. oklahoma city was broken. our country has been broken by wars, and yet we have emerged stronger from each one of these.

>> john tlumacki, again, reflecting on your image that you took, that's the kind of image that stands the test of time, marking a moment in history. what's it going to represent to you and do you think to people who see it in years to come.

>> i think it's going to be the reminder of what happened in that terrible marathon . hopefully this year i'll be able to replace that image with something more joyful. survivors crossing the finish line with their family. i'm going to be there, i'm going to be standing on the finish line doing my job, and i want to replace that image. i don't want people to keep coming back and thinking that's the way it was. i want people to come and look -- go online, look at the " boston globe " and say what a beautiful picture.

>> well said. we're going to leave it there. thank you very much. thank all of you for being here and thank you all on the panel as well.

>> thank you.

>> boston strong for sure. we're