On the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings, President Obama and Vice President Biden remembered the four people who were killed and honored the hundreds who were wounded, saying the country and world are moved by their resilience.
Addressing a tribute service at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, Biden said Boston's reaction to the bombings - doctors running through the marathon finish line to hospitals, bystanders helping the injured, strangers starting foundations - has become a symbol of perseverance around the world.
"You’ve become the face of America’s resolve for all the world to see,” Biden said. The city has adopted the slogan "Boston Strong" in the aftermath of the bombings, but Biden said that doggedness extends to the entire nation.
"That’s what makes us so proud of this city and this state. What makes me so proud to be an American. That we have never, ever yielded to fear. Ever,” Biden said.
Biden directly addressed the families of those killed - Krystle Campbell, 29, Lingzi Lu, 23, and 8-year-old Martin Richard, who were watching the race, and MIT police officer Sean Collier, 26 - telling them that while no memorial can provide solace, he hopes they have gained some comfort from the outpouring of affection from all over the city, country and world.
"You’re an inspiration to people all across this country who have suffered tragedy," Biden said.
Biden said those who are injured - a number of whom spoke Tuesday - are "living proof that America can never, never, never be defeated."
"So much has been taken from you but you never, never have given up," Biden said.
Obama issued a statement Tuesday morning, saying the nation stands in "awe"of the injured who are relearning life's basics: how to stand, walk and run.
"With each new step, our country is moved by the resilience of a community and a city," he said.
Obama said the images that people remember are not of the blasts and the aftermaths, but the compassion and outpouring that runners, spectators and Bostonians showed during those harrowing moments.
"A man in a cowboy hat helping a wounded stranger out of harm’s way; runners embracing loved ones, and each other; an EMT carrying a spectator to safety," Obama said. "Today, we recognize the incredible courage and leadership of so many Bostonians in the wake of unspeakable tragedy. And we offer our deepest gratitude to the courageous firefighters, police officers, medical professionals, runners and spectators who, in an instant, displayed the spirit Boston was built on – perseverance, freedom and love."
Authorities said brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokar Tsarnaev carried out the two bombings, which occurred near the marathon's finish line. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in a shootout with police days after the blasts. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev faces 30 federal charges and is being held in a federal facility. The Justice Department announced earlier this year the government will seek the death penalty in the case.
The 2014 Boston Marathon will take place Monday.
"And when the sun rises over Boylston Street next Monday – Patriot’s Day – hundreds of thousands will come together to show the world the meaning of 'Boston Strong' as a city chooses to run again," Obama said.
The Boston Marathon coincides each year with a Boston Red Sox game. Biden couldn't help but rib the city on its obsession with its baseball team.
"Even though I’m not a Boston fan, I love you guys, man," said Biden, who is from Delaware. "I know politicians aren’t supposed to say that you’re not a Red Sox fan. But where I’m from if you said you rooted for the Red Sox, you got the living hell kicked out of you."