2 years later, Boston looks back, but moves forward

Survivors move forward, two years after Bosto... 03:19

Wednesday is the second anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing. A new CBS News poll found 60 percent of Americans favor the death penalty for convicted bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, while 30 percent oppose it.

While the city awaits his fate, survivors find themselves at a pivotal moment -- how to both remember and move forward, reports CBS News correspondent Don Dahler.

As a lifelong Bostonian and a veteran reporter for the Boston Globe, Kevin Cullen seems to remember just about everyone in town and can never forget the people from the scene on April 15, 2013.

After 30 years on the job, he said he's never had to deal with something like that and hopes he never has to again.

"These were just ordinary people. There was a college kid named Rob Wheeler who had just finished the race and he saw Ron (Brassard) laying there, bleeding out and he literally took the shirt off his back tied off his leg and saved his life," Cullen said. "That's the stuff that choked me up when I thought about it late at night."

Cullen has spent the past two years reporting on that day and its aftermath.

Victims and family testify in emotional Bosto... 02:36

"It's not a sad moment, for the people that survived, I don't think there's any sadness attached to that because the strength they showed, the way they are getting on with their lives and how many of them are dealing with their injuries," Cullen said.

Rebekah Gregory traveled from Texas to watch the marathon with her son, Noah.

"It seems like sometimes it has been two years and sometimes it seems like it's yesterday," she said.

That morning, Gregory and her son were standing less than 10 feet from where the first bomb exploded.

"When the TV crews go away and you don't see it on the news that doesn't mean that it's gone for those people. It means that it is very much real and a very much a part of us," she said.

The explosion destroyed her left leg. Over 19 months she had 17 surgeries, but last November Gregory finally decided to have her leg amputated.

"I'm doing normal things again. I took my son to the movies the other night, I walk through the airport and I don't have to use a wheelchair," Gregory said. "Those things are amazing to me thinking about how far I have come in such a short time."

Then, Gregory made a journey that both terrified and consoled her. Last month she walked into the Boston Federal Courthouse and, along with more than 15 fellow survivors and eyewitnesses, she testified against Tsarnaev.

"We don't have closure because there is no end to it," Gregory said. "I have two choices: I can be mad that this happened to me, or I can be blessed that I have a daily reminder that life is short and I'm still here."

Gregory plans to return to Boston yet again. She'll run the last three miles of Monday's marathon.