Sunday, May 05, 2013

Stopping by the Memorial at Copley Plaza - Some Personal Thoughts + Boston Globe Article

SUZANNE KREITER/GLOBE STAFFBrianna Flynn (left) stopped to reflect at the ever-expanding Marthon memorial at Copley Square
I was walking down Boylston Street this week when I noticed a commotion near the temporary Marathon memorial that has been growing daily at the northwest corner of Copley Plaza.  A fire engine and ambulance had just arrived, so I crossed the street to see what was happening.  I saw them attending to the needs of a young woman - perhaps someone overcome by emotion during her visit to the graphic site that contains thousands of items - flowers, flags, running shoes, notes, votive candles, Red Sox, Celtics and Bruins apparel, stuffed animals, written prayers, and countless iterations of the "Boston Strong" message.  I spent time slowly walking among the artifacts and talismans of remembrance, allowing it all to slowly sink in.  The crowd was somber and respectful.

As I turned to leave, I was approached by a reporter from the Boston Globe.  My answers to the reporter's questions make up a small portion of this article below that appeared in Friday's paper.

Copley Square a place to mourn, heal after bombings

Matthew Kelvey and Jessica Rego came from Rhode Island to visit the makeshift shrine.

The memorial, which began as many makeshift shrines scattered across the city just after the April 15 bombings, has grown steadily since city workers relocated it to Copley early last week. While city officials say it is still too soon to talk about any plans for a permanent memorial, the temporary Copley location shows no signs of fading.
The air is fragrant with thousands of flowers. Running shoes, stuffed animals, candles, crosses, sports caps, and pinwheels spinning red, white, and blue were piled at the center of the memorial and stacked along its perimeter. Handmade signs — “Istanbul stands with Boston,” “Nashville Believes in Boston” — ­offered prayers and solidarity. The trees within the plaza were draped with rosaries and paper cranes.
“It’s like this big huge outdoor cathedral,” said Sally Graham, of Dorchester, who fought back tears as she spoke. “I’m just drawn here. ... In some ways it says to me good does outweigh evil.”
Graham said she had come to a smaller memorial at ­Boylston and Berkeley Street the Sunday after the explosions; she is hoping the city erects something permanent, but she was not sure what it should be.
Since the bombing, she said, Bostonians seem gentler to one another.
“I mean, the drivers are back to driving the way they usually do,” she said, smiling. “But it feels kinder.”
As people wound their way through the memorial, Jimmy Costigan, 59, played “Amazing Grace” on his harmonica from the sidewalk.
Costigan, whose lap was covered with booklets of Bible verses, said he was just behind the Boston Public Library when the bombs went off, and as he watched people flee, he saw a man running with an American flag covered in blood.
Like Brown, Costigan said he has been to the memorial every day since it opened to the public.
Amazing Grace “is one of my favorite songs. I tried so long to learn how to play it," he said. “Up there, at the bomb site, it just came to me. Weird, huh?”
Many, however, are still coming to visit the memorial for the first time.
Al Chase, a Marathon volunteer of 15 years, arrived Thursday evening wearing his bright yellow Marathon volunteer jacket; he tried to visit the day the memorial opened, he said, but was overwhelmed by the crowds.
He spent 15 minutes Thursday reading the messages people have left.
“The whole is so much greater than the sum of its parts,” he said.
Around the two bombing sites blocks away from the Copley memorial, life has largely returned to normal, and restaurant patios were packed this week with people enjoying the sunshine. On Monday night, the Marathon finish line was quietly repainted, as it is every year after the Marathon, according to a spokesman for the Boston Athletic Association.
It is partly the solace of the Copley memorial that has helped the city heal, Brown said.
“They say this is needed for Boston,” he said. “Who knows how long it’ll be here? I guess until people stop coming. But they’re not.”
Correspondent Gal Tziperman Lotan contributed to this report. Evan Allen can be reached Follow her on Twitter @evanmallen.

Boston Globe Marathon Bombing Memorial Grows

No comments: