A truck with a police escort stopped in the Back Bay early Monday morning to deliver stones to complete the memorials at the Boston Marathon finish line for those killed in the 2013 bombings that rocked the city and the nation.
The truck bore chunks of granite, weighing hundreds of pounds each, taken from sentimental places in the three victims’ lives.
One stone came from Franklin Park, which was beloved by 8-year-old Martin Richard. It was fused to a second stone from Boston University, where Lingzi Lu, 23, was earning a graduate degree in mathematics and statistics. Workers placed their stone outside 755 Boylston St., where the two died.
Another stone came from Spectacle Island, where Krystle Campbell, 29, managed the Summer Shack and event operations. Workers placed her stone a block away at 671 Boylston, where she died.
Pablo Eduardo, the artist who designed the memorials, said the Boston police escort for the truck from Sincere Metal Works was an emotional surprise to him. He attended college in Boston and has lived in the area for more than 20 years, so he considers the city his hometown.
“It’s such a huge honor,” Eduardo said. “I hope it will make you just stop a little bit and see what it is when you’re walking up and down Boylston Street.”
He worked closely with the three victims’ families and changed the design many times, which caused delays. Originally, the memorials were to be erected by the bombings’ five-year anniversary in April 2018.
Eduardo thought out every detail. Each of the two memorial sites features cherry trees that will blossom every year around the time of the Marathon, glass spires that represent the fragility of life, and black tiles arranged in a diamond that represent the two blasts from makeshift bombs that day.
The memorials also contain two bronze tiles to commemorate the two police officers who died after the bombing.
Sean Collier, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology officer, was killed by the bombers when they tried to steal his gun and escape, while a Boston officer, Dennis O. Simmonds, was hurt by a pipe bomb thrown by the bombers during a shootout with police in Watertown. He died from the injury a year later.
More than 260 people were injured in the blasts, including more than a dozen who lost limbs. One of the bombers died in the shootout; the other was tried and sentenced to death.
Eduardo said he factored in all of the pain when working on his design. “Life can change in such a violent way sometimes,” he said.
He looks forward to visiting his creations at night, when the glass spires light up.
Jake Lewon, the project manager, worked closely with Eduardo. Lewon said collaborating with an artist — the first time in his more than 20 years in construction — was exciting. He relished the level of detail in the work.
“This was probably the smallest job that our company has done this year or in the past year, but it’s definitely the most meaningful,” said Lewon, who works at McCourt Construction. “I can’t tell you how many people that I’ve shown photos of it to.”
“Ultimately, it’s going to be here as a symbol of the City of Boston forever.”
Kira Prentice, who works on the second floor of 699 Boylston St., said she and her co-workers had been observing the construction. She watches the Marathon from her office every year and thinks the marker is uplifting.
“It feels almost Olympic — it feels like these are evoking torches or something that’s passing a barrier,” Prentice said of the four glass spires, wrapped in bronze coils, which Eduardo said represent how we protect the fragile things in our lives.
“It feels celebratory in a way that you wouldn’t really expect for such a tragic event. But it blends in really well with the Boylston landscape.”
Kevin Blaisdell said he worked on replacing windows at 755 Boylston St. after the blast. His son was a concierge in the building, though he wasn’t working that day.
He said he thought the memorial does the tragedy justice. “The memorial is beautiful — I’d like to see it at night. When it lights up, it must be beautiful.”
Patrick Brophy, chief of operations for the city, helped to coordinate the building of the memorials. He said every part speaks to him.
The bombings affected every Bostonian, he said he believes; he was part of a group in City Hall who wanted to figure out how to best mark the tragedy.
“Peace, calm, reflective — it’s a nice place to reflect,” said Brophy, who knows the Richard family. He has run in the Boston Marathon eight times, including in 2013. His family was on Boylston Street when the bombs exploded.
“You can’t come by here without thinking about it,” he said, “and you can’t come by this space without thinking about the people who passed here.”