They had been close to the epicenter — blocks or steps away from the two explosions that rocked the Back Bay on Monday. They heard the booms, or felt the rumble of the ground, or smelled the acrid air along Boylston Street.
And on Thursday, they wanted to be close again — this time to the healing.
Thousands came to the South End to attend a memorial service at Cathedral of the Holy Cross, commemorating those killed and grievously wounded in the finish line explosion at the Boston Marathon. A surprising number shared this in common: They had been at the spot where tragedy struck Monday and now found themselves in a place of unity. They hoped to hear their mayor, their governor, and their president provide words of solace.
But for many of those who had found themselves dangerously close when Monday’s events unfolded, just being there Thursday on Washington Street, once again at the center of a big event, proved sufficient. The nearness, they said, was comforting.
“Just to feel like we’re here and we’re present is enough,” said Anthe Kelley, who lives in Jamaica Plain, as sherolled a stroller back and forth in the line for entrance.
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