President Obama on Thursday looked to comfort both Boston and the nation, telling the victims of bombings in the heart of New England: “You will run again.”
The president traveled to Boston less than three days after a pair of explosions took three lives at the Boston Marathon and injured more than 170 others. As authorities continued to look for those responsible for the bombings, the president said that Boston had already shown its resilience and proved it would not be broken by violence.
“At this time next year, on the third Monday in April, the world will return to this great American city to run harder than ever and to cheer even louder for the 118th Boston Marathon,” Obama said to an extended standing ovation at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. “Bet on it.”
For Obama, it was an all-too-familiar scene. Just as he did after tragedies at Fort Hood, Texas, Tucson, Ariz. or more recently, Aurora, Colo. and Newtown, Conn., Obama looked for answers in the face of indescribable evil.
“Your resolve is the greatest rebuke to whoever committed this heinous act,” Obama told Bostonians. “It should be pretty clear that they picked the wrong city — not here in Boston.”
Some in the audience sported bright yellow jackets from the Boston Marathon, a vivid reminder of the clouds of smoke near the historic finish line of the annual race. Obama’s one-time presidential rival, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, looked on from the fourth row of the cathedral seating more than 2,000 people.
Obama twice repeated the words 8-year-old victim Martin Richards once wrote on a poster board: “No more hurting people. Peace.”
And Obama recounted his own personal history with Boston, a city that essentially launched his political career. At 2004′s Democratic National Convention — in Boston — Obama went from a little-known Illinois state senator to a rising, liberal star.
“Every one of us has been touched by this attack on your beloved city,” he said at the start of his 20-minute remarks. “Every one of us stands with you. Because after all, it’s our beloved city, too.”
Following his remarks, the president and First Lady Michelle Obama went to meet with family members and victims of the bombings.
Obama spoke after the local officials who orchestrated the city’s response to the attacks.
“I have never loved Boston more than today,” Boston Mayor Thomas Menino declared to thunderous applause.
Added the state’s governor, Deval Patrick, “Massachusetts invented America.”