Thousands Come Together For Vigils Around the City
On the Boston Common, supporters sang with a choir, lit candles, and prayed in the wake of the Marathon tragedy.
Jocelyn Lescarbeau and her sister, Justine, were celebrating Jocelyn’s birthday on Monday by running the 26.2-mile strip of road from Hopkinton to Boston together, side-by-side. As they approached the finish line, however, their journey was cut short by a set of bombs that exploded, injuring nearly 200 people, and killing three others.
Luckily, neither Jocelyn, nor her sister, were hurt when the two blasts went off, sending bits of metal and BBs into the limbs of spectators standing nearby. The girls were less than half-a-mile from the finish line.
Despite the devastation that rocked the Boston community on Monday, the sisters showed up at Boston Common the next night to rally with hundreds of others, and prove that it would take more than the attack to shake such a tight-knit city. “It’s obviously very tragic, but it’s amazing how much support and love there is. We are trying to find the good in a bad situation,” said Jocelyn, standing next to her sister near the Parkman Bandstand on the Common. Both of them were wearing their bright-yellow marathon jackets with pride.
Jocelyn said the tragic event wouldn’t keep her, and Justine, from running in next year’s race. “If anything this will make us run harder,” she said. The Lescarbeau sisters were just a few of the people that gathered on the Boston Common Tuesday night to light candles, sing with supporters, and comfort one another.
As a choir belted out verses from “Lean on Me,” people squatted around giant banners that read “Peace, Here and Everywhere,” and scrawled messages to the victims of the blast and their families. Some of the messages simply said: “This is one awesome city,” and “Only love will see us through.”
Not far away, thousands came together at Garvey Park in Dorchester, candles in hand, to honor the life of 8-year-old Martin Richard, one of the victims of Monday’s attack. And in the Back Bay, mourners gathered around the water’s edge, candles aglow, to reflect on the incident and pay respects to those who were injured, and killed, near the finish line.
At the bandstand, the brightly colored jackets of 2013 marathon runners stood out in the crowd as people consoled one another. Christian Bergren-Aragon, a 19-year-old Emerson College student, stood along the edge of the large crowd, staring towards the choir singing at the gazebo. Bergren-Aragon was at the 23-mile mark during the race when the bombs went off. But much like the Lescarbeau sisters, he said the horrific attack wouldn’t cause him to live in fear in Boston.
When asked how the bombings might change next year’s marathon, Bergren-Aragon said he believes the numbers of attendees will double, not dwindle. “It will definitely be different…but I think people will show up in an act of resilience, and to show support for those that were injured,” he said. “You can’t live in fear. Anything can happen anytime, and all we can do is react to situations in a manner that is respectful and keep on going forward. It’s nice to see people focusing on the positive.”