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Walsh sees sadness, optimism during ‘One Boston Day’

Mayor Martin J. Walsh (right) participated in a wreath-laying ceremony with the family of Martin Richard Friday morning.
Mayor Martin J. Walsh (right) participated in a wreath-laying ceremony with the family of Martin Richard Friday morning. Jonathan Wiggs/globe staff

As he moves around the city on One Boston Day, Mayor Martin J. Walsh said, he is witnessing a wide variety of emotions among people marking the third anniversary of the terror bombings at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

Walsh and Governor Charlie Baker attended a wreath-laying ceremony on Boylston Street, where two bombs detonated, killing three and wounding some 260 more. The ceremony was led by relatives of the three spectators who died: 8-year-old Martin Richard, 23-year-old Lingzi Lu, and 29-year-old Krystle Campbell.

The 8 a.m. ceremony was followed by a breakfast for the relatives and city leaders inside the nearby main branch of the Boston Public Library.

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Walsh called the ceremony a “very sad, somber” moment, but noted the mood changed dramatically once people moved into the library, away from the spot where they had suffered so much loss and so much pain.

“I just kind of sat back and watched everyone smiling, and laughing, and catching up” about how life has gone in the three years since the bombings, Walsh said.

“To the families that lost their loved ones, I can’t imagine what they’ve gone through. But they have all done something special with their foundations,” he said, referring to charitable foundations set up by the families in memory of their lost loved ones.

Walsh spoke as he made his way to a noontime stop for a Coffee With a Cop Event sponsored by Boston police. “There’s a great feeling in the city today,” Walsh said. “When you think about what happened three years ago today, and you think about what’s come of it, there is so much hope and inspiration.’’

But the day is also about remembering survivors injured in the bombings, Walsh added.

“Some of them are still struggling with surgeries,” Walsh said. “It’s a day to rally around them, too.”

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In Dorchester’s Peabody Square, Walsh admired the work of more than 100 volunteers who participated in a community cleanup to honor Richard.

“Everyone wants to do their bit,” Walsh said. “This was his neighborhood, his home base. Now it’s the base for MR8,” a charitable foundation that honors the 8-yr-old.

Armed with shovels, rakes, and clippers, volunteers cleared weeds and spread fresh mulch on traffic islands on Dorchester Avenue.

“It’s the right thing to do in memory of Martin,” said Courtney Whelan, 33, pausing after cutting through weeds.

Deirdre Manning, a neighbor of the Richard family, said the youngster was deeply missed in his neighborhood.

“He was a really happy, fun kid,” said Manning, as she crouched down to cut weeds. “He was always outside, riding his bike, yelling for his brother, Henry.”

Henry Richard, 14, worked nearby with friends. Jane Richard, his sister, who lost a leg in the bombing, shoveled dirt alongside her father, Bill.

Denise Richard, Martin’s mother, stood at a table nearby, giving out One Boston Day buttons honoring Martin.

The family was not making any public statements, a spokeswoman said.

But Denise Richard requested that a hymn, All Creatures of Our God and King, be played on the bells at All Saints Church following a moment of silence at 2:49 pm, marking the time of the first bomb.

“I’m honored to (ring) those bells,” said Jeff Gonyeau, a church member who also helped at the cleanup.

He said he planned to toll the bells 4 times, followed by a brief pause, and toll them 15 times.

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“That’s 4-15, the date of One Boston Day,” Gonyeau said.

Walsh’s other stops included a blood drive in Copley Square organized by Stepping Strong at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, established by the parents of Gillian Reny, who was injured in the bombings.

Audrey and Steven Reny set up the program to support trauma care at the hospital.

Reny, now 21, is a student at the University of Pennsylvania.

All 60 spots available to donate Friday at the mobile blood bank set up in Copley Square were occupied.

“We’ve had a strong showing of support today from the community, both in blood donations and in people wanting to learn about our efforts to drive innovation in trauma care,” Audrey Reny said.

MIT Police Officer Sean Collier was also killed by the two bombers as they sought to flee the area several days after setting off the blasts. One of the bombers is dead, while the other has been tried and sentenced to death.


John R. Ellement contributed to this report. Kathy McCabe can be reached at Katherine.McCabe@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @GlobeKMcCabe.