Hundreds gathered at Boston Common on Tuesday night in one of a number of vigils held around the city.
People lit candles, held signs and hugged one another as a choir sang from the bandstand in the middle of the common. Over 200 people looked on as night began to fall, including some who had completed the marathon the day before.
Danielle Hustus, 23, carried a hastily prepared banner which bore a line from the speech Barack Obama made after the bombings which killed two and left over 150 injured.
“If you want to know who we are, what America is, how we respond to evil, that’s it,” Obama’s quote said, remembering how some raced toward the site of the blast to help the injured. “Selflessly, compassionately, unafraid.”
Hustus was born in Boston and works in a bank in the city. She was in her office nearby when the bombs were detonated on Monday afternoon and said it was important for her to share her grief.
“Just because the tragedy was such a senseless one. Senseless in the fact that so many innocent lives were taken. And senseless in that by now terrorists should know that there’s nothing they could possibly accomplish by this.”
A banner reading: “Peace here and everywhere” had been hung from the front of the bandstand. Most in attendance were content to stand and listen to the choir, the mournful singing of Danny Boy, You’ll Never Walk Alone and the Star-Spangled Banner drifting across the common.
“I think a lot of people are really suffering,” said Marianne Jensen, 67. “It’s a beautiful city and it’s a big blow.”
Jensen works in retail in downtown Boston and had not planned to attend the vigil. She was drawn in by the crowd and paused to take in the scene.
“It’s very calm, and I think that’s needed,” she said.
In the midst of the semi-circle of grievers, a cloth banner had been laid out before the bandstand. “Boston, you’re our home,” had been painted onto it in capital letters, and attendees were encouraged to write personal messages on to the fabric.
“Children are our future and should not be harmed or killed,” read one message. “God bless Boston,” read another tribute, written in purple. One person had simply written “Love” and left a red rose.
Laura MacDermaid, 49, ran in the marathon and was close by when the blasts occurred. “I had crossed the finish line, and I don’t think I had got my medal yet so I had just been going through and then I turned around and saw the explosions. It was pretty scary.”
MacDermaid had travelled from Toronto to run the race with her boyfriend Rick Swinson, 46. “It’s something you train for for years and years and then finally get here and for all this to happen is just crazy,” Swinson said. “It’s so sad.”
Asked if she would consider running the marathon again, MacDermaid said she had only planned to take part once every ten years. “But this wouldn’t have stopped me to come back if I was planning on doing it again.”