At bomb sites, talk of lasting tribute

Running shoes hung from a barrier at a makeshift memorial in Copley Square on Boylston Street.
AP Photo/Michael Dwyer
Running shoes hung from a barrier at a makeshift memorial in Copley Square on Boylston Street.

Boston officials will work with the victims of the Marathon bombings to find a way to memorialize the attack, according to Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s press secretary. But it is not yet clear what a memorial will look like.

“There was an outpouring of generosity and support from many during these tragic events,” city spokeswoman Dot Joyce said. “The city will never forget and will always hold dear April 15. As we move onward in this healing process and begin our conversation with those affected and impacted by this tragedy, we will work toward finding appropriate ways of recognizing these events.”

On Wednesday, Boylston Street fully reopened for the first time since the bombings, and hundreds flocked to a temporary memorial at Copley, where city workers had gathered all the flowers, T-shirts, flags, hats, and letters scattered at makeshift shrines.


The sidewalks on Boylston Street — including the sites where the two bombs went off — are now open to pedestrians. At the site of the first explosion, near the finish line, people had begun leaving flowers and stuffed animals. By Wednesday afternoon, the second bombing site had drawn camera-toting crowds but no bouquets.

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The crowds at the bomb sites Wednesday spilled off the sidewalks onto the streets, slowing traffic, but the areas were not cordoned off. Workers, some in biohazard suits, continued repairs on businesses such as the Forum restaurant, which is boarded up.

To some who had come to grieve at the sites, the lack of an official memorial was painful.

“It’s sad, because over there, there’s no indication of exactly where the bomb went off,” said Nancy Kilar, 56, referring to the site of the second bomb, as she stood crying at the first bombing site, where she left flowers. “I wish they’d have something at least like this, because I feel it’s hard to walk where these people were killed.”

Joyce said any flowers or mementos left at the bomb sites will be moved to the temporary memorial at Copley.


Joyce said it was simply too early for any concrete plans for a permanent memorial. She said the city will look for a “respectful way to honor the day.”

“I don’t know what that form is yet,” she said.

On Wednesday, with the tragedy still fresh, the bomb sites already had the feel of a shrine.

“Every time you walk down the street, the thought will occur. As it should,” said Richard Smigliani, 65, as he sat drinking a decaf coffee in front of Finagle a Bagel on Boylston. He was planning to go to the makeshift memorial at Copley, but he said he was not ready to visit the sites of the bombs.

“I think I will let it rest for a while,” he said. “It’s hallowed ground.”

Evan Allen can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @evanmallen.