Mayor Walsh declared the day back in 2015, with the goal of taking a negative event and turning it into a positive one. He envisioned the day as an opportunity for Boston residents to spread goodwill and give back to the community.
For the survivors and the families of those who lost their lives, the day of kindness and generosity was also about reflection and moving forward.
Three spectators--8-year-old Martin Richard, BU student Lingzi Lu, and Medford's Krystle Campbell--were killed when the bombs exploded on April 15, 2013, and more than 260 people were injured. MIT Police Officer Sean Collier was killed days later by the bombers.
At the Old South Church in Boston, bells tolled at 2:49 p.m., the minute the bombs exploded on that fateful day.
At the Boston Marathon finish line on Boylston Street, crowds gathered and held a moment of silence.
And in Dorchester, the family of the youngest marathon bombing victim stood silently.
The Richard family has been intensely private in the years following the tragedy, but Bill Richard, Martin's father, addressed the crowd in Peabody Square after the moment of silence.
"Some people ask, and a lot of people look at us and think and wonder how we do it," Mr. Richard said. "The answer is, it's within our family, the strength of our family. But if you look to your left and look to your right and look around, this is the reason, this is how we do it. This is how we move forward."
He said the day was about moving forward both as a family and as a community.
"This day is special and forever will be, and I hope you all enjoy being a part of it as much as we do," he continued. "The work you did today, it looks incredible--and for those of us who live here, we've never heard Dorchester Avenue so quiet!"
He also asked the crowd to remember his son.
"When we go across the street for hot dogs and ice cream and some drinks today, think of Martin, because like most kids, it was his favorite food," he said.
"You truly are special people, and we are here today to support you and to be with you and to say we love you, and thank you," Mayor Walsh said to the members of the Richard family.
"The Richard family is a wonderful example of how you can turn tragedy into something positive," Gov. Baker said. "I'd like to tell you that, on behalf of the Commonwealth, they have been a very special beacon of light to the people here in Massachusetts and elsewhere."
Earlier in the day, Walsh was joined by the Richard family and relatives of Lingzi Lu in laying a wreath on Boylston Street.
Not far away, Gov. Charlie Baker laid a wreath along with family members of Krystle Campbell.
Mayor Walsh celebrated the many acts of kindness that occurred throughout the city--including blood drives, food drives, and clean-up projects, like the one in Dorchester's Peabody Square.
"It's amazing, this community that we're in today is absolutely amazing," Mayor Walsh said. "Every time you're asked, you rise to the occasion."
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