Vice President Joe Biden delivered a stirring speech Tuesday during the Boston Remembers tribute at the Hynes Convention Center, saying that in his career he has witnessed incredible tributes, but never a memorial like this.
“Jill [Biden] and I are honored to be asked back, and let me say to those survivors, my God, you have survived and you have soared. It was worth it. It was worth it, I mean this sincerely, just to hear each of you speak. You are truly, truly inspiring. I have never heard anything so beautiful as what each of you has just said.”
Biden expressed gratitude to the survivors of the Boston Marathon, many of whom were present, calling them inspiration to people all across the country who are suffering hardships. The endurance of the bombing survivors gives others hope that they can overcome their struggles, Biden said.
“You are living proof that America can never, never, never be defeated. You are the proof of that assertion. So much has been taken from you, but you’ve never given up,” Biden said.
About 2,500 invited guests attended the memorial at the center, just blocks from the race's finish line, where a pair of homemade pressure-cooker bombs detonated a year ago, ripping through the crowd of thousands of spectators, killing three people and injuring 264 others.
Of Boston's resilience in the face of tragedy, Biden said, “What an incredible city, it really is. You are an incredible, incredible city."
Of the "twisted terrorists" that carried out the attack, Biden said, "It infuriates them that we refuse to bend, refuse to change, refuse to yield to fear. You are Boston Strong. But America is strong. They’re not unlike you. All around America. That’s what makes us so proud of this city and this state, what makes me so proud to be an American; it’s that we have never, ever, ever yielded to fear. Never.”
Before Biden's remarks, bombing survivor and amputee Adrianne Haslet-Davis told the crowd she was a proud Bostonian.
“The city has stood by us supported us and helped us heal. Together we held each other in the face of terror, we grieved in the face of tremendous loss, and we grew in the face of adversity," she said.
Haslet-Davis said she hopes the anniversary will always be a day of action, and told people who want to help to “look around. People in your community need your support, they need your patience, and they need your time.”
Boston Mayor Martin Walsh and Gov. Deval Patrick also spoke.
"We are all connected to each other, to events beyond our control to a common destiny. We share the same fears, the same hopes, the same community,” said Patrick.
“We are not strangers. We are in the end one community. I hope we hold tight to that.”
At 2:30 p.m. the ceremony will move nearby to Boylston Street, where a flag-raising ceremony will take place at 2:45, and at 2:49, a moment of silence.