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One year later, Boston pauses to remember marathon bombings

April 15, 2014 at 6:02 PM EST
One year has passed since bombings exploded on the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Survivors, citizens and public officials gathered together, along with Vice President Biden, to honor the dead and offer hope for the future. Judy Woodruff reports.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: The city of Boston paused on this first anniversary of the bombings that erupted at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

Survivors, public officials and the general public honored the dead and offered hope for the future.

The day began with a quiet wreath-laying at the site of the two blasts on Boylston Street. The brother and sister of the youngest victim, 8-year-old Martin Richard, laid one of the wreaths.

A year ago, the scene was very different. As runners made their way to the finish line, the two pressure cooker bombs exploded within moments of each other. Three people were killed, and more than 260 others injured. Many lost limbs.

MAN: Body parts — I mean, people have been blown apart. They’re dead. There’s — where the window is, the windows are all blown out.

JUDY WOODRUFF: A manhunt began immediately for the suspects, identified as two brothers, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev. The city was effectively locked down, and Tamerlan Tsarnaev died in a shoot-out with police.

The younger brother, Dzhokhar, was eventually found hiding inside a boat in a backyard. He pleaded not guilty to more than 30 federal charges and is awaiting trial.

Today, survivors, families and medical staff joined with hundreds of others, including Thomas Menino, who was Boston’s mayor a year ago.

THOMAS MENINO, D, Former Mayor, Boston: It’s an honor to be able to thank and praise the first-responders who carried some of you to safety. It eased the pain just a little more to shake the hands of the doctors and the nurses who stopped the bleeding, closed your wounds, or mend your legs, who saved your lives, so you are here with us, in this moment making the city and world a better place.

Patrick Downes was among those who lost a leg in the attack, and so did his wife.

PATRICK DOWNES, Survivor: We would never wish the devastation and pain we have experienced on any of you.

However, we do wish that all of you at some point your lives feel as loved as we have felt over this last year. It has been the most humbling experience of our lives. We hope you feel all the emotion we feel when we say thank you.

To our fellow survivor community what would we do without each other? We should have never met this way, but we are so grateful for each other.

JUDY WOODRUFF: The theme of Boston Strong ran through the remarks of each speaker, including Vice President Biden.

VICE PRESIDENT JOSEPH BIDEN: Next Monday, on Patriots’ Day, when I’m told up to 36,000 people line up to start the marathon, you will send a resounding message around the world, not just to the rest of the world, but to the terrorists, that we will never yield, we will never cower.

(APPLAUSE)

VICE PRESIDENT JOSEPH BIDEN: America will never, ever, ever stand down. We are Boston, we are America, we respond, we endure, we overcome, and we own the finish line!

JUDY WOODRUFF: And then, under rainy skies, the crowd moved outside to the marathon’s finish line, and paused for a moment of silence at the precise time the bombs exploded.