Opinion | Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes

Dear Boston, your spirit and caring empowered us

Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes with Kensky’s service dog, Rescue.
Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff
Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes with Kensky’s service dog, Rescue.

FIVE YEARS AGO, in the wake of the Marathon bombings, Boston made a collective decision to love one another. That spirit carries on to this day, and we believe that if we commit to recalling those acts of altruism, it can extend far beyond the Boston Strong community.

Kevin Cullen: Five years later, we feel the grief like a sixth sense

As survivors, we felt your love from the first moments. You renewed us, soothed our wounds, and gave us hope that life, while in a new and unfamiliar form, would go on. Our civic leaders from government, business, and the community sprang to action as if they knew just how difficult and long our road ahead would be. Others followed in quick succession and the soul of the city came to life. The One Fund’s significance was not only in its unprecedented donations, but for what it stood for as our collective responsibility to each other. With each donation a vote of confidence was cast, a cheer of support erupted, and a pledge for solidarity was made.

Related: Bombing survivors’ children’s book is No. 4 on best-seller list

From your spirit of caring, you not only picked us up, you empowered us to live with meaning and purpose. Families of the fallen have created lasting legacies of their loved ones in the form of foundations, scholarships, and memorials, highlighting the way they lived and challenging all of us to carry on their spirit. Those injured have made commitments to pay forward the love we have received by advocating for people with physical disabilities, serving as mentors and friends to others who suffer trauma, and living our lives for the good of others. Boston put its love into action when we needed it the most, and it lives on in the hearts and deeds of our Boylston Street Family.

Related: The story of Rescue and Jessica, a dog, a woman, and rebirth


We still struggle to express our sincerest gratitude, knowing full well that our words can never adequately capture what your response has meant to us. Today we want to thank you for your kindness and support, and remind us all of how much stronger we are together. There is nothing we’re not capable of when we acknowledge that we truly belong to each other.

Related: Her decision, their life: A Boston Marathon survivor debates whether to become a double amputee

Get Today in Opinion in your inbox:
Globe Opinion's must-reads, delivered to you every Sunday-Friday.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

We hope that we have made you proud and that you can see your love alive in us.

Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes are survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing and members of their Boylston Street Family. They live in Cambridge.