Earlier this year, longtime Medford Mayor Michael J. McGlynn held a fund-raiser for the proposed Krystle Campbell Peace Garden, named for one of the four victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings and its aftermath.
McGlynn, along with the “Friends of Krystle Campbell” group, set a target of $15,000.
They raised $143,000.
“Unexpectedly, over 400 people attended and donated checks that were small, medium, and large,” McGlynn said Sunday at the groundbreaking ceremony for the peace garden. “The entertainment, the restaurant, and the bartenders all ripped up their bills and donated their checks.”
Hundreds braved cold temperatures and a few unexpected and unseasonable snowflakes to attend Sunday’s ceremony and honor Campbell, the 29-year-old Medford woman who died on April 15, 2013.
The peace garden will be near the senior center in Medford Square. Construction is expected to be completed in June 2016, McGlynn said.
Campbell’s parents, William and Patricia Campbell, said they were overwhelmed by the community support.
“[Krystle] picked me up everyday,” William Campbell said, recalling his daughter’s upbeat personality. “She would have loved this.”
Patricia Campbell said she hoped the peace garden would inspire others.
“I had tears of joy just watching [the ceremony]. We’re very grateful,” Campbell said. “She just loved life. That’s the kind of person she was.”
McGlynn said the peace garden is designed to replicate the Boston Marathon course, with bronze plaques representing the mile markers along the Marathon route from its start in Hopkinton to the finish line. However, instead of a regular marker, the “finish line” will be a memorial for each victim who died: Campbell, Martin Richard, Sean Collier, and Lingzi Lu.
Each person will also be represented with a symbol: a baseball glove for Richard; a police badge for Collier; books for Lu, who was a 23-year-old Boston University graduate student; and a sunflower for Campbell, her favorite. In the center of the four fountains, a larger fountain will signify peace and justice, McGlynn said.
The peace garden in Medford is one of the three recent memorials created for the victims of the Marathon bombings and the subsequent manhunt for its perpetrators.
In September, a playground in Wilmington was created in memory of Collier, the MIT police officer slain in the days following the bombings. Also in September, Bridgewater State University unveiled a statue of 8-year-old Richard, who was killed near the Marathon finish line.
The entire Richard family attended Sunday’s peace garden dedication in Medford and sat in the first row.
In addition to the Richard family, several survivors of the bombings attended the ceremony. Karen McWatters led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance. Patrick Downes gave remarks on behalf of all survivors. Roseann Sdoia read proclamations from Vice President Joseph Biden, Governor Charlie Baker, and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito.
McWatters, Downes, and Sdoia each suffered amputations after the bombings.
“Peace has never been about the absence of evil, rather the existence of the good in us,” Downes said. “When so much of the world is transfixed on mass casualties . . . our country has decided to shine light on those injured and lost. They are the ones who deserve our fascination.”
Downes said he refuses to see himself as a victim of violence, but rather as an ambassador for peace.
“This peace garden will serve as a place where we can teach our children about the message that our guardian angels left for us,” he said.
The total cost of the peace garden was $1.3 million, paid for through private donations and grants from the state and federal governments.
Stephanie Pollack, the state transportation secretary, said the state was a proud partner in the initiative.
In Biden’s letter, he characterized the peace garden as a necessary undertaking.
“Although no memorial, no word, and no acts can fully provide the solace you need, I know this garden will give us all some peace to reflect and remember,” it read. “These were beautiful, decent people, taken from us too soon.”
US Representative Katherine Clark, who also spoke at the ceremony, read a passage from a Mary Oliver poem titled “The Sunflowers.”
She finished by adding that the flower’s quest to bend toward the light and away from the darkness is something from which every person can learn.
Following Clark’s speech, four of Krystle Campbell’s friends released white doves into a cobalt sky.
In the background, an orchestra played and vocalist Jeehye Kang sang: “Let there be peace on Earth! And let it begin with me.”
To her right, Patricia Campbell held a bouquet of the yellow sunflowers that had been handed out to the crowd.
The ceremony represented the spirit of Krystle, her parents said: Sunflowers for everyone, snowfall be damned.