A runner is escorted from the scene after explosions went off at the 117th Boston Marathon in Boston in this April 15, 2013 file photo.(Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters, Files)

BOSTON -- Laura York choked up as she toured Boston Public Library exhibit of mementos left for the people injured and killed in last year's Boston Marathon bombing. There were T-shirts, signs of support and hundreds of running shoes left in tribute. Some placards were emblazoned with the slogan that 8-year-old Martin Richard, who was killed in the attack, had penned in 2012 while studying nonviolence in second grade.

"No more hurting people. Peace," they read.

"I think this week is going to be tough for everyone," said York, who lives in Back Bay not far from the finish line. Last year she watched the race from the site where the second of two bombs exploded, but left about 10 minutes before it went off.

"It just really brings back all the memories," her eyes welling with tears. "I can't believe it was a year ago."

"I think this year, people are just wanting to prove 'you can't stop me,'" she added. "I do feel it's kind of 'you can't defeat it. Don't try to mess with us' type of mentality."

As work crews scurried to complete preparations for Tuesday's tributes to victims and first responders, that attitude was everywhere around the marathon finish line on Boylston Street. The day would be an opportunity to look back, to mourn, but also to turn a page, to show that Boston and its wounded had gotten through the worst of this.

"It'll be sad, but it's something that has brought us closer together," said Alison Beliveau, 25, of South Boston. "It's strong. It's unifying."

At Marathon Sports, where the first bomb went off, destroying a plate glass storefront window and sending employees to the aid of the wounded with makeshift tourniquets, Dan Darcy said the day will give everyone a moment to pause and reconsider all that has happened to this city.

"Tomorrow is really going to be a chance for everyone to get together and connect on the events of last year," he said. That will happen on Tuesday at the ceremonies, but also all week leading up to the April 21 race.

"People are really excited for this race to happen" he said. "It's a chance to move on from last year."