Police officers with their guns drawn hear the second explosion down the street. The first explosion knocked down a runner at the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon. Credit: Getty Images
Boston's handling of the bombing attack on its marathon in April has become a model for cities around the world on how to respond to tragedy, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said on Monday, as the city made its final preparations for this year's race.
"The chaos of those moments is hard to describe," Patrick said of the minutes after two pressure-cooker bombs exploded at the finish line of the world-famous Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013, killing three people and injuring more than 260.
Public officials, law enforcement agencies and medical workers acted seamlessly in their reaction to the attack, securing the scene and helping victims, while the city's residents supported each other in the long aftermath, Patrick said.
"That example of grace had an awful lot to do with why the world looks to Boston and the Commonwealth as an example of how to come back from a terrible tragedy like this," Patrick told a conference organized by Boston University about lessons from the bombing.
Investigators say a pair of Chechen brothers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, placed the homemade bombs at the marathon finish line, in the largest mass-casualty attack on U.S. soil since hijackers flew planes into New York City's World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.
Tamerlan was killed during a shootout days after the bombing while Dzhokhar was captured and awaits trial on terrorism charges. He faces a possible death penalty if convicted.
Boston's former mayor, Thomas Menino, whose term ended shortly after the bombing, said this year's marathon on April 21 will be an opportunity to showcase Boston's progress. Officials have made plans to ramp up security with extra police and more barricades.
"This year, the eyes of the world will be upon us because of the anniversary," Menino told the conference. "Every foot that hits the finish line, every friend who hugs a runner finishing the race, every reunion between survivors and first responders, those moments will show our resilience."