BOSTON (CBS) --- Twenty-three-year-old Lingzi Lu came to Boston to study economics and finance at Boston University.
She left her industrialized city of Shenyang in Northern China, hoping that receiving an American graduate degree would give her an advantage in the business world.
By all accounts, Lu loved Boston, music and trying the varied flavors of American ice cream. She catalogued many of her adventures in American eating on her social media accounts.
The morning of the April 15, bombing, Lingzi and two other friends who had come to the United States to study from China, huddled close near the finish line. So far from home, the group was immersed in American culture. Hours before, around 9 a.m., Lingzi had posted a photograph on her Chinese social media account of her breakfast – a bright bowl of fruit salad – with the words 'my wonderful breakfast.' It was a cheery image on an unseasonably warm day.
Hours later, she was gone.
During a memorial service that attracted hundreds including Gov. Deval Patrick, held in the days following her death, Lingzi's father told those gathered that he would never forget the 'lightness she brought to their lives.'
In the days, weeks, months that followed, hundreds of thousands of people wrote about Lingzi on Chinese social media. She quickly became the face of tragedy for all Chinese students struggling to break free from Communism and find more opportunities in the United States.
During a prayer service held the Thursday after the bombings , President Barack Obama spoke of the heartache he felt for the family who trusted the United States with their daughter.
"Our prayers are with the Lu family of China, who sent their daughter Lingzi to BU so that she could experience all this city has to offer. She was a 23-year-old student, far from home. And in the heartache of her family and friends on both sides of a great ocean, we're reminded of the humanity that we all share," the president said.
A year later, messages and tributes to Lingzi continue on Facebook pages set up to remember her.
They write of the unfairness of it all, that she was lost too soon with so much promise, they write that they hope she is at peace, that she is someplace bombs like the ones that went off on Boylston street can't hurt her anymore.
They write that they can't stop thinking about her and promise she will never be forgotten.
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