Nightly News   |  April 17, 2013

Boston victims’ inspiring resiliency

From two brothers who each lost a leg in the blast, to a 20-year-old with fractured bones, the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings are showing remarkable strength in the wake of the tragedy. NBC’s Anne Thompson reports.

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>>> a day of rapidly moving kwomts. as investigators continue to do their work, doctors continue to do theirs in boston after saving so many lives, after dealing, remember, with what looked like combat injuries, some victims are now leaving the hospital telling their stories for the first time. nbc's anne thompson with us tonight from boston with that angle of the story. anne, good evening.

>> reporter: good evening, brian. tonight the city of boston is preparing for the arrival of president obama who will attend an interfaith service tomorrow and preparing for what many know will be a long, difficult journey to recovery. in boston , resolve today amid emotions that are still raw. a relieved sarah gerard left the hospital with her leg in a cast.

>> i have a fractured shin bone and a fractured heel bone from the shrapnel that hit it.

>> reporter: for liz there is no relief. her sons paul and jp each lost a leg and were burned.

>> i'm waiting to wake up from this nightmare. i'm hoping it's not real.

>> reporter: even secretary of state john kerry , massachusetts senator for 28 years, struggled as he testified before congress.

>> you know, boston is not going to be intimidated by this. but we are going to find out who did this.

>> reporter: boston is a city still on edge. a bomb scare forced the evacuation of the federal courthouse . and it is a city in mourning. boston university student lingzi lu identified as the third victim of the bombing. she was watching the marathon with two other friends. dave king finished the marathon monday. an hour later he was in the operating room at massachusetts general hospital . the trauma surgeon served in iraq and afghanistan, suddenly faced decisions he thought he'd left on the battlefield -- whether to amputate.

>> you choose life over limb.

>> reporter: after three days of surgery he's astonished by the patients' resilience.

>> they understand that losing a a limb was required to save a their life. and they are just at peace with that. i don't understand how.

>> reporter: the strength of the victims inspiring the strength of the city.

>> we only care about three things in this town -- politics, sports and revenge. our revenge is to go back to normal. what happened to us the other day will not cow us. it will not change us.

>> reporter: while most of boston is back at its normal routine, doctors acknowledge that the physical and emotional recovery will take not only months but most likely years, especially for those who will suffer with post traumatic stress disorder . brian?

>> anne thompson at the command post in boston tonight.