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Obama traveling to Boston, speaking at interfaith service Thursday

April 16, 2013|By Christi Parsons

WASHINGTON -- President Obama plans to travel to Massachusetts to honor the victims of this week’s bomb attack at the Boston Marathon, the White House announced Tuesday.

The president is canceling Thursday morning meetings at the White House to speak at a Boston interfaith service dedicated to those killed or seriously wounded in the bomb blasts.

Attending such services at times of national tragedy or threat is a regular practice for Obama, who most recently spoke at a memorial for shooting victims in Newtown, Conn. At a 2011 memorial in Tucson for victims of the mass shooting there, Obama spoke of "puddles in heaven" and conjured the image of one young victim playing in them.

PHOTOS: Explosions at Boston Marathon

On Thursday, Obama will be speaking to the victims and survivors of the bombing and to a country shaken by an act of terrorism that came without warning. As he begins to shape his remarks, the president is focused on the idea of mourning without giving in to terrorism.

“The American people refuse to be terrorized,” Obama said Tuesday morning to reporters in the White House briefing room, recounting the acts of “heroism and kindness, and generosity and love” that followed Monday's attacks near the finish line of the marathon.

He spoke of the “exhausted runners who kept running to the nearest hospital to give blood, and those who stayed to tend to the wounded, some tearing off their own clothes to make tourniquets. The first responders who ran into the chaos to save lives ... the priests who opened their churches and ministered to the hurt and the fearful.”

On Thursday, Obama will join religious and community leaders at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston.

The service is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m.

VIDEO: Boston marathon explosion

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christi.parsons@latimes.com

Twitter: @cparsons

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