EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

April 17, 2013

'Boston, you're our home'

City strives for strong spirit after bombings

At North Station a different reality began to peek through the typical commute. Two men in green camouflage and bulging packs walked among the coffee and newspaper kiosks. A policeman led a dog through the streaming commuters, surreptitiously walking close to bags and small groups of people.

BOSTON — The bombs killed three people and caused injury to an estimated 170 others, but they were not enough to kill the spirit of a city.

The day after two bombs wracked the finish line at the Boston Marathon, Bostonians and visitors tried to go about their daily lives, but this time there was an increased police presence and the appearance of National Guard troops.

Children looked forward to going to the circus, tourists shopped at Quincy Market, people visited the Massachusetts State House and men and women went to their jobs in the financial district.

Yesterday evening, hundreds of people gathered for a vigil on the Boston Common, lit candles and sang songs including “Amazing Grace” and “The Star-Spangled. Banners declared “Peace here and everywhere” and “Boston, you’re our home.”

President Obama plans to visit Boston tomorrow to attend an interfaith service in honor of the victims. He has traveled four times to cities reeling from mass violence, most recently in December after the schoolhouse shooting in Newtown, Conn.

A commuter train going into Boston at 7 yesterday morning looked like the train every other morning. A group of women sat facing each other near the car door. An older man read a book. Another man leaned forward asleep. The ticket checkers strolled the isle, clicking their punchers at light speed.

Residents and tourists alike carried on with a day that was eerily similar to normal, but that contained just enough of the surreal to remind people of the devastating bombing.

But at Arlington it hit suddenly and at full force. National Guardsmen paced the Green Line platform, and clumps of two and three stood among a handful of Massachusetts State Police at the turnstiles. And on street level, police had barricaded off Boylston Street, media satellite trucks from around the country clotted the corner of Arlington and Boylston streets. A helicopter droned constantly overhead.

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