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NEW YORK – Ahead of the 10th anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing, Cardinal Seán O’Malley remembered each life lost as a “unique expression of love, concern for others, and courage,” and reminded Boston Catholics that despite the violence of that day they can find faith and trust in the Lord.
Three people – Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell, and Lingzi Lu – were killed on April 15, 2013 when two pressure-cooker bombs detonated 11 seconds apart near the Boston Marathon finish line. Hundreds were injured by the blast, including some who suffered amputations.
Three days later the bombers shot and killed Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer Sean Collier. A day later, on April 19, Boston Police Sgt. Dennis Simmonds suffered a serious head injury when police were involved in a shootout with the bombers. Simmonds died a year later as a result of his injuries.
O’Malley paid tribute to each of the victims.
“We will never forget them. Each of their lives was a unique expression of love, concern for others, and courage,” O’Malley, archbishop of Boston said. “They will remain in our prayers as will their loved ones who continue to mourn their loss.”
The cardinal also highlighted the inspiration those who were injured have provided.
“Hundreds were injured that day and, in their recovery, have inspired us with their courage and determination to not let hate deter them from living their lives,” O’Malley said. “Survivors of the marathon bombing continue to amaze us each year by running the race as a sign of hope and the resiliency of the human spirit.”
The Boston Marathon bombing – and the ensuing manhunt and investigation – was the FBI’s largest terrorism case since 9/11. The bombers were brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Tamerlan was killed in a shootout with police on April 19.
Dzhokhar, meanwhile, survived the shootout with gunshot wounds to his face and jaw. Dzhokhar was found guilty on 30 federal charges and sentenced to death in May 2015, and has been held at a supermax prison in Florence, Colorado. His attorneys appealed the verdict in 2018, however in March 2022 the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence in a 6-3 ruling.
Dzhokhar’s attorneys again requested his death sentence be vacated in January, alleging juror misconduct.
O’Malley acknowledged in his statement that the pain and suffering associated with the “horrific” day does not easily subside. But he encouraged people to put their “faith and trust in the Lord despite the senseless violence of that day.”
“Ten years removed from that horrific day, the pain and suffering we witnessed does not easily subside,” O’Malley said. “During this season of Easter, as we celebrate Christ’s victory over death, we are reminded that in the midst of the darkness of this tragedy we turn to the light of Jesus Christ.”
O’Malley added that in a world where senseless violent acts are on the rise, action is needed.
“We need our leaders to demonstrate the courage to find consensus and enact policies for gun safety and mental health programs, to save lives and address the underlying causes of this violence,” O’Malley said.
Follow John Lavenburg on Twitter: @johnlavenburg