‘We are one Boston:’ Mourners show an outpouring of love, strength and perseverance at Boston Marathon memorial service

Bostonians are uniting in the wake of Monday's terror attack. PHOTO: NICOLAUS CZARNECKI/METRO
Bostonians are uniting in the wake of Monday’s terror attack. PHOTO: NICOLAUS CZARNECKI/METRO

The mood was palpably somber today inside Boston’s Cathedral of The Holy Cross, where President Barack Obama joined local religious and political leaders to honor the victims of Monday’s devastating terror attack, but as the doors opened and sunlight flooded into the packed church, mourners were greeted by throngs of roused supporters, lining Washington Street to relay a clear and strong message: We are one Boston.

“I wanted to be here… to be in a moment of history,” said Tara Feely, who arrived outside the cathedral at 4:30 a.m. “We were the first ten people who came in.”

Brenda Thordarson stood nearby, “You got here at four?” she asked. “We got here at (7 a.m.)” Thordarson was jovial, like many standing on the Cathedral steps after the service wrapped up at noon. “I thought (Obama’s remarks) were good, and appropriate,” she said. Thordarson came alone, but in a twist of circumstance emblematic of the unity surrounding Monday’s tragedy, she left with two “new friends,” with whom she planned to have lunch.

A crowd gathered outside Cathedral of the Holy Cross in the South End. PHOTO: MORGAN ROUSSEAU/METRO
A crowd gathered outside Cathedral of the Holy Cross in the South End. PHOTO: MORGAN ROUSSEAU/METRO

Judith Erdman stood on her toes atop the cathedral steps, snapping photographs of Senator Elizabeth Warren as she walked down Washington Street, waving at the crowd.

“I came to have solidarity with the Boston people, with the runners, their families, the first responders… I wanted to be a part of coming together to pray for peace, to pray for justice, whatever that looks like,” said Erdman, who lives down the street from the cathedral. “(The service) really gladdened the hearts of the people, and give hope. I think that we have that sort of spirit here in Boston all the time but the people who were visiting got to witness that. I think it was such a beautiful and wonderful and hopeful service.”

A view from the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. PHOTO: MORGAN ROUSSEAU/METRO
A view from the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. PHOTO: MORGAN ROUSSEAU/METRO

Across the street, 23-year-old Robert Wheeler hustled through a crowded sidewalk wearing a blue and yellow Boston Athletic Association jacket, on his way to see a man whose leg he helped save on that fateful Monday afternoon.

“I took my shirt off and was able to wrap it around his leg and keep pressure on it. Another gentleman helped to keep pressure on it as well. It all happened so fast,” said Wheeler,  a student at Fitchburg State University and a former Southie resident. It was going to be their first meeting since the explosion, so it was fitting it would happen outside today’s memorial service.

“I think the right things were said; Boston united. It wasn’t just Bostonians. It was Americans and it was foreigners,” said Wheeler, who admitted he has “anger about what happened.”

“But when it comes down to it, the day wasn’t about that.  There was one guy who did a horrible deed and there were thousands who did the right thing and that’s what it’s about,” he said.

Boston resident Mac Mooney holds a sign outside today's memorial service. PHOTO: MORGAN ROUSSEAU/METRO
Boston resident Mac Mooney holds a sign outside today’s memorial service. PHOTO: MORGAN ROUSSEAU/METRO

Like hundreds gathered outside the cathedral today, lifelong Boston resident Mac Mooney was unable to make it into the service. Instead, he and his wife and young daughter held a sign to sum up their support: “Boston, you’re our home.”

“The city could be empty, but the spirit would still be here. It’s good to see the people coming out and showing their support. It’s inspiring. It’s resilient. It’s a testimony to everything that Massachusetts is about.”

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBOS

 


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

News

Explosions in new Boston Marathon bomb panic, 'twisted'…

A fresh Boston Marathon terror alert, which caused Bomb Squad officers to order an evacuation while two controlled explosions were carried out, was today being…

Local

D.A. Williams opens new unit to focus exclusively…

D.A. Seth Williams announced Tuesday that he has opened a new unit focused entirely on investigating wrongful conviction claims.

Local

BSL, El to run all night on summer…

Officials announced this week that it would institute a pilot program this summer that would keep the El operational from 5 a.m. Friday morning until midnight Monday morning starting in…

Entertainment

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

Television

'Orphan Black's' Jordan Gavaris talks Felix's Season 2…

Jordan Gavaris plays heroically helpful foster sibling Felix to main clone Sarah on "Orphan Black." We talked to him about what’s ahead for him in…

Going Out

Here's what to do in Philly this weekend

FILM 'Through a Lens Darkly'  Thursday, April 17, 6 p.m. Philadelphia Photo Arts Center 1400 N. American St. Free, RSVP required, 215-232-5678 www.philaphotoarts.org Join Philadelphia…

Arts

Peek behind the scenes at the Academy of…

Generations of visitors have marveled at the dioramas in the Academy of Natural Sciences, watching apprehensively at the puma perpetually poised to attack the unsuspecting…

U.S. Soccer

Andrew Wenger has big shoes to fill on…

Lancaster County native Andrew Wenger will feel pressure to fill the shoes of departer forward Jack McInerney.

NBA

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could…

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could the Mavericks surprise?

NBA

Sixers, Michael Carter-Williams give fans a happy ending…

The 2013-14 season for the 76ers has nearly come to a close.

NHL

Flyers must make Rangers feel their presence

Perhaps it’s the proximity of the two biggest cities in the East, because whenever these two square off the intensity seems to rise.

Home

Steal home decorating tips from Nattystyle blogger Natalie…

Despite the towering ceilings and enviable exposed brick, it’s easy to see how Natalie Decleve’s apartment could be considered a challenge. Perched above the streets…

Home

How to plant a garden in the city

Small on space but big on gardening? You can still have that welcoming oasis of fresh air with an urban garden. Peter Smith, owner of…

Style

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show moving to England

It will still broadcast on CBS this fall.

Tech

Google Glass finally goes on sale for regular…

The Google Glass finally went on sale for regular people. It only costs $1,500.