‘We Finish the Race’

Crowd applauds at Cathedral of the Holy Cross interfaith service. (Jun Tsuboike/BU News Service)
Crowd applauds at Cathedral of the Holy Cross interfaith service. (Jun Tsuboike/BU News Service)

RD Sahl
BU News Service

The words were of divinity, dignity and defiance. Today’s interfaith service at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross was not about despair or defeat. Three days after the attack at the Boston Marathon finish line, Boston and the nation remembered the dead, prayed for the injured, thanked first responders and vowed to “run again.”

Outside the cathedral, thousands lined Washington Street , hoping to make it into the service. Short of that, to simply be there for themselves and others. One woman who’d been waiting in line since 5 a.m. said: “I’m here to grieve and be one with my city.”

Inside, 2,000 people rose as one – applauded and cheered – when President Barack Obama said “if they sought to intimidate us, to terrorize us…it should be pretty clear right now that they picked the wrong city to do it.”

Ailing mayor Tom Menino saluted first responders who ran into danger to help the wounded. “Nothing can defeat the heart of this city,” he said. “We triumphed.”

Governor Deval Patrick struck a similar theme. He told the nation “Massachusetts invented America…We will grieve our losses and heal. We will rise and we will endure.”

The President, one day after a Senate defeat of tougher gun control legislation, was both comforting and defiant. He talked about the dead and injured , and the city he knew as a student at Harvard Law School. He vowed that those responsible for the bombings – “small, stunted individuals,” he called them – will be brought to justice.

He said Boston has reminded us “To push on. To persevere. To not get weary. To not get faint. Even when it hurts. Even when our heart aches…We finish the race. We finish the race.”

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