On April 15, 2013, the Boston Marathon Bombing left the city in shock and mourning. Now, ten years later, the city of Boston stands together to remember the victims and honor the resilience and strength that emerged from the tragedy. The remembrance ceremony for the 10-year anniversary of the bombing was held on Boylston Street, the same location where the terrorist attack took place. The event was attended by families of the victims, first responders, and members of the community.
The ceremony was a powerful tribute to those lost and injured on that fateful day. The finish line was dedicated to One Boston, and those impacted by the events were honored with a moment of silence.
The bomb heard around the world affected everyone, regardless of who or where they were on that fateful day. It was a moment of shock, anger, and sadness that left an indelible mark on the world. However, even amid the tragedy, there were inspirational stories that encouraged many to come together in solidarity, from professional athletes, to runners, to spectators of the marathon.
One of the most remarkable responses to the Boston Marathon Bombing came from David Ortiz, a Red Sox player, who delivered an unforgettable speech while wearing a Boston jersey. His words, “This is our (f-ing) city. Nobody is going to dictate our freedom. Stay Strong,” resonated with everyone and highlighted the city’s resolve to come back stronger. Reflecting on the speech a decade later, Ortiz expressed that it came from the bottom of his heart and his genuine desire to see the city bounce back.
As a fitting tribute, he was appointed the Marshal of the 127th Boston Marathon, which took place this week. Today, as he acknowledges that Boston has healed and moved on, with the city’s unity being responsible for its quick rebound, Ortiz gives credit where it’s due, recognizing the incredible strength and resilience of the people of Boston.
Meb Keflezighi, a professional runner, was at a local restaurant when the bombing occurred in 2013. The incident inspired him to set a goal to win the marathon in 2014 or to run his personal best. He credits the emotional support of the spectators for enabling him to triumph. This was a comeback race for many runners, and the philosophy was “Boston Strong for 365 days.”
On April 21, 2014, Meb was determined to embody that spirit. Despite not being expected to lead the race, the overwhelming support from the crowd motivated him to push through and succeed. It was a redemptive moment for the nation, as Meb became the first male American to win the Boston Marathon in decades. He wrote the victims’ names on his bib, reflecting his profound connection with the people of Boston. The experience continues to inform his life philosophy, which is to be the best possible human being.
Mario Sousa was a police officer who volunteered that fateful day for the Michael’s Miracle charity organization. He was situated in the bleachers directly across from the bombing while waiting for his charitable runners to complete the race. As he watched the bombs go off, his first instinct was to ensure the safety of the onlookers and his family. Ten years later, he still gets emotional whenever he reflects back to that day. Since then, he has not been able to return as a spectator at the finish line. In 2017, he ran his first Boston marathon, and on the famous turn “right on Hereford, left on Boylston,” he saw his friend, who helped him secure the bombing area. They hugged, sharing a bond forged by the traumatic experience, and to celebrate the fraternity of the police. He believes that even ten years later, people continue to unite as one, not only for the victims and survivors but for all humankind. He is, on one hand, saddened by the bittersweet memories of the tragedy but takes pride in being part of the resilient Boston community.
Susan Hurley is the founder of Charity Teams, which supports 38 different charities. She ran the 2013 Boston Marathon. Ten years later, she still acknowledges the hardship that families, survivors, and those present during the bombing have faced. Nevertheless, she recognizes the remarkable goodwill that has emerged from the tragedy and how the community has come together in ways that have benefited many. One example is the Martin Richard Foundation, which was established by Bill and Denise Richard in honor of their son, who lost his life in the bombing. The foundation has changed tragedy into positivity and is an essential part of her healing process. Susan who ran the marathon this year, said her principal goal was to move forward. Having recently recovered from stage 4 ovarian cancer, which was her personal tragedy, she was enthusiastic about being at the start line and demonstrating to demonstrate her perseverance.
Next, we have the inspiring stories of the local residents, like Peter Riddle, who stood at 755 Boylston Street, where the second bomb went off. He played a fundamental role in assisting the injured, and despite the trauma, he was determined to return. He wanted to run the following year’s Boston marathon to recover what was lost and make it a more positive event. Peter, who ran with the MR8 Foundation for a second time, acknowledged still being connected to the event. As he turned at the iconic intersection of “right on Hereford, left on Boylston,” mixed feelings of sadness, self-reflection, and triumph consumed him. He remains optimistic and believes that participating in such organizations “brings light” by providing support and raising funds for others, such as MR8.
In the same way, Robert Hinojosa observed the Boston Marathon from Destin, Florida. He was struck by how his emotions mirrored those he felt during the 9/11 tragedy. Although he was a “one-and-done marathoner,” the terrorist attack inspired him to participate in the Boston Marathon as a statement of defiance—”Don’t mess with America.” He completed the race in 2014 for Michael’s Miracle, an organization that helps disabled individuals and their families. The experience was so impactful that he has participated every year since then. This year marks his 10th consecutive Boston Marathon and always running for Michael’s Miracle. Over the last decade, he has raised over $240,000. His story shows how good always prevails over evil.
Race Director Dave McGillivray describes that day as “an act of evil.” Since then, those significantly affected — including those who lost limbs in the explosions — have established non-profit organizations to assist others. It is incredible to consider the resilience, determination, and kindness of these individuals. The 127th Boston Marathon is a commemoration not just of those who were profoundly affected but also of the collective response and healing that has occurred. It highlights all the good that has emerged from a devastating event.
Overall, Boston Strong represents the strength, resilience, and unity of the city of Boston after a tragic event. It shows how the community came together, supporting each other through difficult times, and inspiring others to do the same. The phrase symbolizes hope, love, and a sense of belonging to a community. It serves as a reminder of the power of coming together as a community and overcoming difficult situations. The spirit of Boston Strong is something that will continue to inspire people around the world, showing us the importance of hope, strength, and togetherness in challenging times.
Dr. Maria Bendeck is a board-certified internal medicine physician, freelance writer, world traveler, avid marathon runner, and community builder. She believes in embracing life to the fullest by exploring new places, helping others, and empowering people through writing.