When Boston Marathon finishers run their final yards down Boylston Street on Monday, they will not only be crossing the world’s oldest road race finish line but also hallowed ground.
Two years after the bombs exploded, the famous final stretch of the marathon has become a place of mourning and renewal. It’s both shrine to victims and memorial to heroes.
Finishing the Boston Marathon has become an emotional experience of multiple dimensions.
On April 15, 2013, buildings shook, smoke billowed and suddenly the pavement was strewn with bodies, severed legs and blood. Two blasts killed three spectators and wounded 264. Seventeen people lost limbs.
“I saw most of the blood coming out of my left leg,” Jeffrey Bauman testified at the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Bauman lost both legs. “I still had my knee but nothing beyond it. There was a stream of blood coming out.”
Tsarnaev was convicted April 8 of all 30 counts against him in the terrorism trial. On Tuesday, the day after 30,000 entrants will participate in the 119th running of the Boston Marathon, the sentencing phase of his trial begins. Prosecutors will seek the death penalty.
On Wednesday, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh commemorated the second anniversary of the bombing, unveiling banners on Boylston Street. In a city full of historical plaques and markers, the banners represent another chapter in American history. Visitors snap photos of Boston’s finish area just as they do at New York’s 9/11 memorial site.