With sorrow tinged by pride, Boston and Massachusetts paused Monday, exactly one week after the Marathon bombings, for a moment of quiet to reflect on lives lost, limbs shattered, and countless acts of heroism.
The tributes stretched across the city from Ashmont to Copley Square and from Cambridge to Watertown, where police who had pursued two suspects in a running shoot-out stood in still, solemn ranks on Main Street.
At precisely 2:50 p.m., the contrast in Copley Square with the scene there on Patriots Day was the difference between calm and carnage. A thousand pairs of eyes, many welling with tears, gazed down Boylston Street toward the place where two explosions killed three people and injured 282.
Near Copley Square, as elsewhere, what was intended to be 60 seconds of silence continued far longer. In Ashmont’s Peabody Square, where 8-year-old bombing victim Martin Richard lived, one minute became six at a ceremony attended by Mayor Thomas M. Menino and US Senator Elizabeth Warren. At Boylston and Berkeley streets, in the Back Bay, the silence stretched for 10 minutes.
“I feel like I was compelled to be here,” said Mikele Rauch of Newton, who stood beneath a brilliant canopy of magnolia blossoms on Boylston Street. “It seems like a sacred place.”
On a weekday when the city is normally buzzing with noise and movement, tens of thousands stopped in place, profoundly silent, almost immobile during the mass display of remembrance and respect.
Standing on the steps of the State House, Governor Deval Patrick spoke briefly before bowing his head with many of the Commonwealth’s top elected officials and scores of state legislators and staff.
After one minute, Patrick looked up, thanked the crowd, and said: “God bless the people of Massachusetts. Boston strong.”
At Faneuil Hall, a frigid wind had swept the square of people, until, all at once, it filled with people. They came from office towers and tourist shops inside Quincy Market. They arrived without jackets, wearing name tags from the boutiques and hotels where they worked.
Several hundred people gathered in a moment. Joan Ferraro was part of the rush, arriving cold from the Millennium Bostonian Hotel, where she is director of marketing. “How could I not come?” Ferraro, of Swampscott, asked as she used her forefinger to catch a tear in the corner of her eye. “It’s special to all of us.”
In Downtown Crossing, pedestrians stopped midsidewalk and stood silently with hands folded. A small crowd gathered at the Irish Famine Memorial.
Even the very young seemed to recognize the importance of the gesture. When Cynthia Paris Jeffries, principal of the Blackstone Elementary School in the South End, announced the moment of silence, some fourth-graders abruptly stopped working on a math problem. Others stopped loading their backpacks, even as dismissal time approached.
Then they stood up, and, like thousands of their elders, none of the children spoke a word.
In Cambridge, hundreds of MIT students, faculty, and staff gathered in memory of university police Officer Sean Collier, fatally shot Thursday, allegedly by bombing suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
At the Parkman Bandstand on Boston Common, students from the New England Conservatory played Beethoven’s funeral march, the second movement of his Third Symphony, to about 100 bystanders after the moment of silence.
On the MBTA’s Red Line platform at Park Street Station, the music stopped. Roland Tumble, a regular performer at subway stops, plucked at an electric guitar until 2:47 p.m., when a T employee asked if he could pause.
“Of course,” Tumble said, nodding his head. “That’s an important thing to do.”
Subway riders, however, continued to chat. As a train’s doors opened, some checked their watches and bobbed their heads to headphones. The moment passed, and the train set off on its journey.
There was no lack of awareness at Boylston and Hereford streets, the final turn on the Marathon course, where the Engine 33/Ladder 15 firehouse sits. More than 200 people filled the intersection with a cross-section of Boston and the region: Michigan-born twins who attend the Berklee College of Music, Vermonters in the city for a Red Sox game, Back Bay mothers pushing strollers, older women walking dogs, and male joggers running past.
Joel Karas, who lives on the border of he Fenway and the Back Bay, rushed to the barricade just before the moment of silence to thank a police officer. A week before, Karas and his wife had been finishing lunch at L’Espalier restaurant, looking out on Boylston Street when the explosions occurred. They escaped through the kitchen and dashed to the reflecting pool at the Christian Science Center.
“I wanted to make sure I was here today,” Karas said. “I was here. It affected me. But we are a strong city, strong people. We’re not going to let the actions of a few young terrorists change us.”
That strength was evident in Peabody Square, where 125 people joined Menino and Warren before the 104-year-old clock, whose time had been frozen at 2:50 since the day after the Marathon.
On Monday, at precisely that time, clock keeper Jeffrey Gonyeau nudged a pendulum to restart the neighborhood landmark. He tiptoed around dozens of bouquets and hand-scrawled notes, stuffed animals, and Bruins pennants, left at the base of the clock for Martin Richard and his family. The boy’s mother and sister were severely injured.
One minute into the observance, the bells tolled at nearby All Saints Church. First, a dozen higher-pitched tones to command attention. Then, 11 “tellers,” in the English tradition, three to announce the death of a child, eight more for his age.
At Boylston and Berkeley streets, few seemed to want to leave. They stood straight and still, respectful, mournful, seemingly lost in thoughts of tragedy and recovery.
Then, in an echo of Peabody Square, a church bell pealed. And another, from the Back Bay to Faneuil Hall to the Park Street Church. And slowly, across the city, the crowds began to disperse, as quietly as they had gathered.