Two years after two bombs, the city of Boston began to mark a somber anniversary on Wednesday and sought to turn the remembrance of its darkest day into a celebration of common humanity.
To the bagpipe strains of “Amazing Grace,” in a ceremony without words, Mayor Marty Walsh and Gov. Charlie Baker unveiled commemorative banners on Boylston Street, site of the finish-line blasts at the 2013 Boston Marathon.
The brother and sister of Martin Richard, who at 8 years old was the youngest of the three people killed in the attack, joined the mayor. There were also plans for a moment of silence at 2:49 p.m. ET.
But the city strove to make the day an outpouring of civic kindness.
Kindergartners were to deliver cards to firefighters. A shelter was delivering new shoes to the homeless. A group of runners was made plans to assemble gift baskets for the police. The effort was called One Boston Day.
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The marathon itself is Monday: 32,500 runners are to make the 26.2-mile trek from suburban Hopkinton to Boylston Street.
The next day is the start of the second phase of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s trial, to determine whether he will be put to death. He was convicted last week of all 30 federal counts against him for planning and executing the bombing with his brother.
The same jury that cemented his guilt will determine whether he should live. They have been ordered by the judge to stay away from the race and all commemorations of the anniversary.
The city health commission, worried that the anniversary would trigger traumatizing memories among the public, published a list of tips. “Understand that you may feel sad, angry and anxious,” it said.
Walsh, in a video announcing the effort, said it was about “taking something that was tragic and turning it into a very positive thing,” even in the smallest of steps, like taking out the trash for an elderly neighbor.
“It’s a day for us to really, truly rally around the city of Boston and continue the great tradition of this city in the aftermath of the marathon bombing — how Boston came together as one community,” he said.
— Erin McClam