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Boston To Pay Tribute To Victims Of Last Year's Bombing


This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Kelly McEvers.


And I'm David Greene, good morning.

One year ago today, the Boston Marathon became more than just one of the world's major sporting events. It became a target. As runners crossed the finish line just before 3:00 in the afternoon, two bombs exploded. Three people were killed and dozens more were wounded. This year the marathon is scheduled for next week. But today there will be a tribute for those whose lives were affected by the attack.

NPR's Jeff Brady is in Boston and joins us now. And Jeff, as this anniversary is marked, what's the mood in the city of Boston?

JEFF BRADY, BYLINE: You know, right now there is that same kind of frantic buzz that happens before every Boston Marathon. This is a huge event and it's logistically complicated to pull off in a normal year. But this is not a normal year; even more people will be here to run and to watch. And I think that speaks to a deeper indicator of the mood here. You've probably heard the phrase Boston Strong that emerged shortly after the attacks last year.

A big part of that phrase is about resilience and refusing to let these attacks change how people live. I think when this distribute starts this afternoon, we're going to hear sadness and respect for the people who were hurt. But I think a lot of people will also want to convey strength and resolve, to let the world know that they're going to go on and live life after this horrible attack.

GREENE: So all of what you're talking about on display at this tribute scheduled for noon time in Boston, what exactly is the plan there?

BRADY: Well, this is happening at a convention center close to where the attack took place last year. And inside that convention center, survivors and family - victims' family members - will be among the guests, along with police and medical crews who helped to the injured last year. There'll be, you know, music and speeches. Some big names are scheduled to be at the tribute: Vice President Joe Biden, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, and former Mayor Tom Menino, who was in office when the attacks happened.

After the tribute, there is another event over at the finish line. That'll be a flag raising ceremony and then a moment of silence at that time those bombs went off, just about 2:50 p.m.

GREENE: So it sounds like as you travel around the city, I mean there are going to be lots of different sorts of tributes and events large and small in Boston this week.

BRADY: Oh, sure. There are memorials, different kind of ceremonies, panel discussions about some of the security and other issues that this attack raised. But there are also individuals out there marking this anniversary in their own way. The Boston Marathon is a real community event and families have their own traditions connected to it. We talked with the woman on a very windy Boylston Street yesterday afternoon.

Mary Jane Troy(ph) was right outside Marathon Sports where she bought T-shirts for her brother and sister-in-law.

MARY JANE TROY: My brother is running his 15th Monday. I watched him last year. They stopped them right as he was turning onto Boylston. I haven't missed one in 15 years, not going to miss one now.

BRADY: And there you have that resilience against. People here are determined to not let these attacks scare them away or cause them to change their traditions.

GREENE: And as you said, when this next marathon happens, even more people expected.

You know, Jeff, what about the two brothers who were suspected of planting these bombs? Do those names come up?

BRADY: Well, their names may come out today. I haven't heard them yet. Tamerlan Tsarnaev died a few days after the attacks, of course, in that shootout with police. His younger brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, still faces a trial and possibly the death penalty. But I think there's a pretty clear message here from city leaders and the tribute organizers that today is going to be about the victims and their families.

So we're going to hear about Martin Richard. He's the eight-year-old Dorchester boy who was killed; Kristy Campbell, the 23-year-old from Medford who was there to watch the race; and Lu Lingzi, the 23-year-old graduate student who was among the spectators. And, of course, a fourth name that we're going to hear that people will want to talk about today is Sean Collier. He was at MIT police officer who was shot and killed as authorities were looking for the suspects.

GREENE: And I assume we'll also hear from people who were hurt, you know, maybe badly but survived the attack.

BRADY: Of course. Some really heroic and heartbreaking stories have been emerging over the past year. And we're going to hear from some of those folks today too. They're actually scheduled in the program.

GREENE: Alright, Jeff, thanks so much for joining us.

BRADY: Thank you.

GREENE: That's NPR's Jeff Brady reporting from Boston. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Jeff Brady is a National Desk Correspondent based in Philadelphia, where he covers energy issues and climate change. Brady helped establish NPR's environment and energy collaborative which brings together NPR and Member station reporters from across the country to cover the big stories involving the natural world.