Boston Strong: Moving Photos of the Marathon & Aftermath

Eight years after the tragic bombing, remembering the day's heroes, tributes to the fallen and a city that won't let tragedy take it down

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'WE BOUNCE BACK'

'WE BOUNCE BACK'
Michael Dwyer/AP

Days before the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing, thousands crowded the race's finish line on Boylston Street on April 12, 2014, for a Sports Illustrated cover shoot. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Boston Police Commissioner William Evans joined the moment, as did survivor Marc Fucarile, who told the media there, "We are strong, we bounce back no matter what."

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TOGETHER AS ONE

TOGETHER AS ONE
Michael Dwyer/AP

A crowd stood at the race's finish line at the April 12, 2014, shoot, but this was only the beginning: While many of those injured in the blasts still have a ways to go, amazing stories of resilience and love surfaced in the year since the tragedy occurred.

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STRENGTH IN NUMBERS

STRENGTH IN NUMBERS
Courtesy Sports Illustrated

The Sports Illustrated cover, out April 16, 2014, showed the more than 3,000 enthusiastic Bostonians who came out for the big moment. In an essay in the issue, Red Sox player David Ortiz wrote, "If I had to make a speech this year on Patriots' Day, I'd say, 'God continue to bless America.' Because even though it began with so much pain and tragedy, the last 12 months have been a blessing."

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DANCING THROUGH LIFE

DANCING THROUGH LIFE
James Duncan Davidson/AP

Despite losing part of her left leg in the bombings, dancer Adrianne Haslet-Davis vowed she'd dance again. She did just that on March 19, 2014, performing at the 2014 TED Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, donning a prosthetic leg to twirl across the dance floor with partner Christian Lightner. "I knew that I had to [dance again]," she said, "and here I am."

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ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE

ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE
Courtesy James Costello

There was indeed a silver lining to survivor James Costello's harrowing Boston Marathon experience: He got engaged to the nurse who treated his burns. Costello proposed to Krista D'Agostino in December 2013, while the two were on a cruise with other first responders and survivors in France. "I now realize why I was involved in the tragedy," he wrote on Facebook when announcing the news. "It was to meet my best friend, and the love of my life."

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FAMILY MATTERS

FAMILY MATTERS
Charles Krupa/AP

Jeff Bauman's image became one of the most memorable from the marathon, after the AP snapped him being rushed away in a wheelchair following the blasts (he later helped ID the suspects, too). One year later, he was recovering, engaged to longtime love Erin Hurley, and expecting a baby! "We've got a lot going on," he joked to the Associated Press. But for now, "I just want to be a good dad." He eventually went on to write. best-selling book, Stronger.

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MOVING ON

MOVING ON

By June 2013, 16 people had already lost limbs due to the bombings — but none of them lost hope. "It's been incredible to see their resilience," Dr. David Crandell of Massachusetts's Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital told PEOPLE of patients like Roseann Sdoia, who was profiled in the magazine. "There's no point in negativity," Sdoia said. "You just have to look forward and do the best you can."

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BIG FINISH

Image

In 2015, Rebekah Gregory, who ultimately lost a leg in the bombing, returned to Boston to cross the marathon finish line in her prosthetic leg. In a reflective 2021 Instagram post, she remembered her time in the hospital in 2013, writing, "As exhausting as that time was, there isn't a day that goes by that I'm not thankful for it. Being still, taught me lessons that otherwise might've been lost in the everyday chaos. Being patient, allowed me to soak in the true blessing of small victories. And being present, made me realize that even though my future seemed so uncertain, I was so incredibly grateful to have one at all."

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THIS LITTLE LIGHT

THIS LITTLE LIGHT
Julio Cortez/AP

Runner Lizzie Lee joined mourners at a vigil in Boston Common on Tuesday, April 16, 2013. Lee was in the middle of her first Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, when two bombs exploded along the race route, killing three and injuring more than 270.

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NEW YORK MINUTE

NEW YORK MINUTE
Landov; Inset: AP

Before their April 16, 2013, home game, New York Yankees players and fans paused for a moment of silence to honor the fallen. Later in the game, the crowd sang Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" — a Boston Red Sox staple — as did sports fans at several other ballparks around the country.

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SHARING THE PRIDE

SHARING THE PRIDE
Brian Snyder/Landov

Neighbors hugged under a U.S. flag on April 16, 2013, as they arrived for a candlelight vigil in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, home to 8-year-old Martin Richard, one of three people killed in the blasts.

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KID COMFORT

KID COMFORT
Landov

Meanwhile, outside the Richards' house that same night, classmates, friends and grievers came together for a separate candlelight vigil.

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A SAD DAY

A SAD DAY
Stan Honda/AFP/Getty

Flags flew at half-mast around the country on April 16, 2013, including outside Boston's Trinity Church, which stands just a few blocks from the site of the bombings.

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FILLED WITH LOVE

FILLED WITH LOVE
EPA/Ladov

Bostonians packed the Arlington Street Church on April 16, 2013, during a moving interfaith service to honor the victims.

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UNITED WE STAND

UNITED WE STAND
Elaine Thompson/AP

Also sending love on April 16, 2013: a runner from Seattle, who hung a Boston Red Sox logo at a Massachusetts Street sign in his hometown. "The world obviously needs to change," Boston native Mark Wahlberg told PEOPLE hours after the bombings. "If you think about all the events over the last couple years, if we can't protect our innocent women and children, then we have a serious problem."

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LOVE FROM AFAR

LOVE FROM AFAR
David Goldman/AP

An Atlanta man held an American flag as he stood outside the city's Big Peach Running Co. on April 16, 2013, after taking part in a moment of silence and memorial run in tribute to the Boston Marathon victims.

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THE MORNING AFTER

THE MORNING AFTER
Elise Amendola/AP

On April 16, 2013, Boston police officers kept the scene near Copley Square secure as the FBI continued its investigation of the explosion. Suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were later identified; Tamerlan died during a police encounter, while his younger brother, Dzhokhar, was apprehended after a tense, days-long manhunt in the Boston area. He was sentenced to death in 2015, but the sentence was overturned in 2020 in the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston. At the request of the Trump administration, the Supreme Court will soon consider reinstating his sentence.

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TOUCHING TRIBUTES

TOUCHING TRIBUTES
Ken Crane/ZUMA

Despite the police activity, mourners didn't stop leaving flowers and messages for the victims at barricades near Boylston Street in the days following the attack.

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IT'S A SIGN

IT'S A SIGN
Courtesy The Illuminator

At the Brooklyn Academy of Music the night of the bombings, few words were needed to show the sentiment New Yorkers sent to their East Coast friends.

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MOMENT OF SILENCE

MOMENT OF SILENCE
Gene J. Puskar/AP

It was already a special day in baseball — Jackie Robinson Day — but the Monday-evening April 15, 2013, games, like this St. Louis Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates matchup in Pennsylvania, had even more meaning when they began with a moment of silence in honor of the Boston victims.

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A CLEAR MESSAGE

A CLEAR MESSAGE
Michael Dwyer/AP

A simple but powerful word marked the driveway of Martin Richard's house. Though dad Bill was unscathed, his wife, Denise, suffered a brain injury in the blast, and his daughter, then-7-year-old Jane, lost a leg. A third child, an older son, was reportedly not injured.

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SMALL STEPS

SMALL STEPS
Brian Snyder/Landov

Neighbors (and Boston Marathon runners, like Megan Cloke, pictured) delivered flowers and other stuffed animals to the Richard family home. "They are beloved by this community," said Ayanna Pressley, a city councilor at large. "They contribute in many ways. That's why you see this outpouring. It's surreal. It's tragic."

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THE FIRST BLAST

THE FIRST BLAST
Landov

Flames erupted as the first explosion hit on a crowded corner of Boylston Street. "It was so powerful that it almost blew my hat off my head," witness Brian Walker told PEOPLE. "It sounded like a cannon. You could feel the blasts hit your body."

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SEARCHING FOR ANSWERS

SEARCHING FOR ANSWERS
Landov

After being treated for her injuries, a shaken woman and her friend made their way to safety. "I saw horrific injuries," witness Walker told PEOPLE. "There were people who lost limbs and people who were bleeding all over the sidewalk. Like out of war zones."

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MOMENTS OF FEAR

MOMENTS OF FEAR
Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald/Polaris

Another victim was treated at the scene by two of Boston's finest. In a blog post Monday, April 15, 2013, comedian Patton Oswalt wrote of those who helped, "The vast majority stands against the darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil-doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak."

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RACE AGAINST TIME

RACE AGAINST TIME
Nancy Lane/Boston Herald/Polaris

Volunteers worked to get another injured bystander to safety. Among those helping: former New England Patriot Joe Andruzzi, who was at the marathon on behalf of his charitable organization. When asked about the situation, he said in a statement, "The spotlight should remain firmly on the countless individuals – first responders, medics, EMTs, runners who crossed the finish line and kept on running straight to give blood – and the countless civilians who did whatever they could to save lives. They were the true heroes."

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A SHOW OF HANDS

A SHOW OF HANDS
Nancy Lane/Boston Herald/Polaris

"Pray for Boston" trended on Twitter following the explosions, and one woman did just that on the city's Boylston Street, where the blasts took place.

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WARM EMBRACE

WARM EMBRACE
Nancy Lane/Boston Herald/Polaris

A tearful runner found comfort following the drama. In the wake of the day's events, Google set up a Person Finder to help loved ones connect as phone service got spotty.

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HOPING FOR HELP

HOPING FOR HELP
Nancy Lane/Boston Herald/Polaris

A young boy was wheeled to safety by doctors and first responders, a wrap around his ankle. "These kids were really badly hurt," trauma surgeon Dr. David Mooney of Boston Children's Hospital told PEOPLE. "They had soot all over their faces, burnt hair and burnt eyebrows and tourniquets on their legs that first responders had put there to save their lives and keep them from bleeding to death."

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GETTING THERE

GETTING THERE
Charles Krupa/AP

Emergency personnel helped a woman in need in the aftermath of the blasts. Speaking to PEOPLE after the event, Bostonian Jeff Chin said, "What you don't see on TV is how loud it was. Imagine there were hundreds of people just screaming at the top of their lungs, screaming so loud. It was piercing, just the terror that you could hear."

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THROWN BY THE BLAST

THROWN BY THE BLAST
John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe/Getty

Runner Bill Iffrig, who was thrown to the ground by reverberations from the first blast, received instructions from police. "My whole body was just crumpling," the then-78-year-old, who was only 15 feet from the finish line, told ABC News. "I thought this was going to be it. I thought this was my last trip. I had no idea what was going on."

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SMOKE SIGNALS

SMOKE SIGNALS
John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe/Getty

Following the first blast, two marathon officials ran for cover. Triage tents set up near the finish line – intended for runners who'd just finished the race – immediately became makeshift emergency rooms as the number of explosion-related injuries rose.

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PLAN OF ACTION

PLAN OF ACTION
Charles Krupa/AP

Police and paramedics cleared the area around the finish line, where the bombings occurred, and helped the injured into ambulances. First responders and quick-thinking civilians were heralded for their heroic efforts throughout the terrifying afternoon.

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