Nobody wanted to leave. It was almost 9 a.m. on a crisp Sunday. Thousands of photographs had been snapped and there was no reason to stick around on the start of a glorious spring day. Yet there in the middle of Boylston Street, in the exact spot where there had been so much sadness and anguish almost a year ago to the day, now there were smiles, hugs and selfies. Nobody had to be there. They wanted to be there. Maybe even needed to be there.
The Globe had invited them – survivors, police, firefighters, EMTs, doctors, nurses, runners, political figures, store owners, the Boston Athletic Association, Red Sox and Bruins players – to take time out of their weekend for a picture. The response was instant and overwhelming: When and where?
At 7:40 a car pulled up and Celeste Corcoran and her daughter Sydney stepped out. Celeste wore a brown leather jacket, and as she moved about easily on her prosthetic legs, her smile was as bright as the day. Then came the others, runners in sweats, doctors and nurses in scrubs, first responders in uniform, until the street overflowed from sidewalk to sidewalk.
The rising sun peeked out from behind the Boston Public Library a few minutes after 8 a.m., and a voice from a bullhorn began to move people into place. Photographers on ladders and in a cherry picker rose above the crowd. And a man in a blue baseball cap and blue sweater slowly moved along the front row, shaking hands and hugging the most severely injured survivors. “It seems like an odd term to use in the wake of a tragedy,” that man, Governor Deval Patrick, would say later. “But I think there was a very strong shared pride in how we came together.” Final instructions were shouted – look up toward the photographers, hold still, rest a hand on a neighbor’s shoulder. A simple act of solidarity. Nobody is alone.