Boston-area residents reassured that danger is over
April 22, 2013 4:00 AM
Mario Tama/Getty Images
Superintendent William Evans, center, and Kevin Buckley, left, attend Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston on the first Sunday after the marathon bombings. The Mass honored the victims of the bombings and subsequent manhunt as well as first responders.
By Richard A. Oppel Jr. The New York Times
MEDFORD, Mass. -- Boston began to say goodbye Sunday to those it lost last week.
Its leaders -- religious as well as political -- fanned out, in front of naves and cameras, to do what they could to reassure grieving parishioners and constituents that the danger from the Boston Marathon bombings and the ensuing manhunt had passed. Or that for those who are gone, "life," as Cardinal Sean O'Malley put it, "is not ended, merely changed."
Memories were not the only thing etched for some mourners.
As Melanie Fitzemeyer, who baby-sat for Krystle Campbell two decades ago, walked to Ms. Campbell's wake along with hundreds of others at a brick-and-frame funeral home on Main Street in Medford, she took off her jacket and rolled up her sleeve. Incised on her arm was a two-line tattoo she had gotten the night before, at a parlor owned by one of Ms. Campbell's cousins.
"Boston Strong," the top line read in black letters scored into the length of her forearm, the surrounding skin still pink and tender.
"1983 Krystle 2013," read the bottom.
Ms. Campbell, a 29-year-old restaurant manager, died after the bombings last Monday from wounds suffered near the finish line of the race she tried to see every year. She will be buried today. Reassurance seemed to be the message from top city and state officials on the Sunday news shows.
The danger has passed, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said on "Face the Nation" on CBS. "The immediate threat, I think all of law enforcement feels, is over, based on the information we have," he said. "And that is a good thing, and you can feel the relief at home here."
At the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston, Cardinal O'Malley, who grew up in the Pittsburgh suburb of Whitehall, said some of the more than 170 wounded in the bombings had prayed there one week ago. He named the four who lost their lives -- three who died at the finish line and the police officer who was killed three nights later in a fatal encounter with the suspects, brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, officials say -- and said they would live in eternity.
"We must be a people of reconciliation, not revenge," the cardinal said. "The crimes of the two young men must not be the justification for prejudice against Muslims and against immigrants. The Gospel is the antidote to the 'eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth' mentality."
Cardinal O'Malley, who has criticized the Democratic Party for the abortion-rights stance of many of its elected officials, said more than 1 million abortions annually "is one indication of how human life has been devalued." But he also criticized lawmakers in Congress -- by implication, most of them Republicans -- by saying that a failure to "enact laws that control access to automatic weapons is emblematic of the pathology of our violent" culture.
"I hope that the events of this past week have taught us how high the stakes are," the cardinal said at the end of his homily. "We must build a civilization of love, or there will be no civilization at all."
His words resonated with Maureen Quaranto, a nurse practitioner. She was working as a volunteer in a medical tent at the marathon when the bombs went off. On Sunday, she drove from her home in Plymouth, Mass., and then lingered after the service, tears in her eyes.
"It just gives you time to reflect," she said. "Jesus said to forgive him."
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and Mr. Patrick called on everyone in the state to come together for a moment of silence at 2:50 p.m. today -- precisely one week after the bombings. That will be followed by the ringing of bells across Boston and the commonwealth.
Tonight at Boston University, students and faculty and staff members will gather on campus in honor of Lingzi Lu, the Chinese graduate student who was killed in the bombing.
"We will remember her and everything good that a bright, ambitious and engaging student represents in our community, and, hopefully, speak about the values that make our community strong, even under such terrible circumstances," Robert Brown, president of the university, wrote to the university.
Another memorial is expected this week on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus to honor Sean Collier, 26, the university police officer who was killed.
"I am profoundly grateful for the service and supreme sacrifice of Officer Collier, who was an extraordinary young man, an excellent police officer and a truly beloved member of our community," chancellor Eric Grimson wrote in an email Sunday.
The fourth victim, Martin Richard, 8, was mourned Sunday in Dorchester at the church attended by his family.
There were signs that the Boston area was returning to normal.
Late Sunday afternoon, Mr. Menino briefed reporters about a five-phase plan to reopen the area where the attack occurred. It will involve decontamination, structural building assessments and debris removal.