Marathon attack victims: Symbols of a city

The deaths of Krystle Campbell, Lingzi Lu, and Martin Richard in the Marathon bombings last week were, first and foremost, a terrible tragedy for their friends and families. But the victims’ deaths were also a great loss for the city that each, in his or her own way, symbolized.

Lu, 23, a statistics student at Boston University, grew up an only child in the Chinese city of Shenyang. With the whole world to choose from to pursue her studies, Lu picked Boston. In an increasingly international city, newcomers like Lu enrich Boston by their presence. Campbell, 29, was an Arlington resident, graduate of Medford High School, and restaurant manager. She worked 80-hour weeks and cared for an ailing grandmother. Hard-working and big-hearted, she epitomized the enduring qualities of Massachusetts. Richard, 8, grew up in Ashmont, a Dorchester neighborhood that is improving in part thanks to the efforts of his father, community activist Bill Richard. Father and son symbolized one generation that rallied around Boston in tougher times, and succeeded in building a better city for the next.

Tragedy sometimes shows us who we are. Lu, Campbell, and Richard were the faces of a welcoming and hopeful place. We can all be thankful for the lives they led — and grateful they were our neighbors.