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With memorials and silent moments, Boston victims are honored

A week after the destruction started near the finish line of Boston's historic marathon, people come together and begin to move on.

April 22, 2013|By Maria L. La Ganga, Melanie Mason and Ashley Powers, Los Angeles Times
  • Mourners embrace outside St. Joseph Catholic Church in Medford, Mass., after Krystle Campbell's funeral. The 29-year-old died in the bombing at the Boston Marathon.
Mourners embrace outside St. Joseph Catholic Church in Medford, Mass.,… (C.J. Gunther / European…)

MEDFORD, Mass. — She was remembered for her smile.

Outside of St. Joseph Catholic Church, Krystle Campbell's second-grade teacher reached into her black purse Monday and pulled out a class picture from April 1991 — 21 sweet, gawky children, and Krystle in the back row "with the biggest smile," Margaret Regan said as she waited for her former student's funeral to begin. "That's the way she was."

Inside the tall brick church, the Rev. Chip Hines told Campbell's friends and family members that "every picture I have ever seen" of the 29-year-old who died a week ago at the Boston Marathon "has had that ever-present smile."

"Let these words from her parents be what you remember about Krystle," Hines said, during the first of four services expected this week stemming from the bombings and subsequent manhunt. "Unselfish. Kind. Always willing to help. Always putting herself last. Hard worker. Couldn't say no. Always smiling."

A week after the destruction began near the finish line of this country's most historic marathon, the greater Boston region began to move on.

Boylston Street — where the pressure-cooker bombs were set off — was officially released by the FBI, handed back to the city. It is expected to reopen to traffic in coming days. Taps played. An American flag that flew over the boulevard-turned-crime scene was lowered, folded and handed to Mayor Thomas M. Menino.

At 2:50 p.m., exactly a week after the first explosion, a moment of silence was observed — in Paris, where runners stopped to remember the three who died and more than 200 who were wounded. In Los Angeles, where Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa interrupted a news conference on Formula E racing.

At the White House, where President Obama paused, and the New York Stock Exchange, where trading halted. On the floor of the U.S. Senate, where legislators were debating Internet taxation.

And all around this stunned region, where residents will struggle to get their lives back for months to come.

Near the finish line, the "moment" of silence lasted 10 minutes. The crowd began to form well before 2:50 p.m. and swelled to several hundred people. Attendees filled the intersection at Boylston and Berkeley streets and snaked around corners. Workers in nearby office buildings peered from above.

All eyes were on the empty blocks still cordoned off since the attacks. Heads bowed. Tears fell. Lips moved in silent prayer. A Boston EMS vehicle pulled up, lights flashing. The driver got out near the barricades and stood at attention. About 3 p.m., he raised his arms over his head, triumphant. The crowd cheered.

Patti Handloss, a retired Episcopal priest, said she had returned to the area the day after the attacks to have dinner and send a message: "We're not afraid. We're not going to let terrorism chase us out of our city. And as a Christian, it was important to say, not only are we not going to let them chase us away, we're going to stand in love."

On the steps of the 215-year-old Massachusetts State House, its golden dome overlooking downtown Boston, first there was silence, then music.

Gov. Deval Patrick joined government employees, legislators and several hundred others in silence on the steps of the Capitol. "God bless the people of Massachusetts. Boston Strong," he said to the crowd, and then bells chimed in the distance.

Moments later, about 100 yards downhill, members of the New England Conservatory began to play — first a funeral march, the second movement of Beethoven's Third Symphony. And then the upbeat finale of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony.

"We have this gift of music and everyone is contributing in some way with the memorial," said Caroline Scharr, 23, of Falmouth, Mass., who came up with the idea along with her boyfriend, a master's student at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. "I felt that if we bring music to the community, it would really help with the healing process."

On Monday evening, 23-year-old Lu Lingzi was memorialized in a packed ballroom at Boston University, where she was a graduate student. She died far from her family in China, far from her home, far from her beloved dog, classmate Zheng Minhui said.

Before she died, Lu was learning to live off campus, said her roommate, Jing Li. Yes, she often burned breakfast and set off the fire alarm, but the two young women would sing out loud while walking down Boston's busy streets.

Funeral plans have yet to be solidified for 8-year-old Martin Richard. On Wednesday, Vice President Joe Biden is to attend a memorial at MIT for the fourth victim, Sean Collier, a campus police officer who was shot to death after confronting the suspects during last week's manhunt.

In Medford, Mayor Mike McGlynn arrived at City Hall as the moment of silence was about to begin. After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, he had ordered up a flag as big as the one that flies at Mt. Rushmore — 45 feet by 90 feet.

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