He was a ‘little boy’ with a ‘zest for life, caring heart’
On Tuesday, a year to the day after the Boston Marathon bombings, one Martin remembered and reflected on another. Mayor Martin Walsh knew Martin Richard, the eight-year-old Dorchester boy who was killed in the terrorist attacks.
Speaking inside the Hynes Convention Center to a crowd that had gathered for a tribute to Richard and the victims and survivors of the attacks, the mayor said he had come across a photo of him and Martin at a neighborhood party a few years ago. “There I was with some friends, my arm around a little boy, holding him close. He was wearing a Dorchester t-shirt and a smile that could light up Fenway Park.” He was a “little boy with a zest for life and a caring heart,” added Walsh, a former state representative from Dorchester.
The Richard family – father Bill, mother Denise, brother Henry, and sister Jane, who had all been at the finish line last April – sat in the front row as Walsh spoke. “Now they are teaching us a thing or two about never giving up,” Walsh said. “And by the way, you didn’t hear it from me, but Jane’s back playing CYO basketball again.”
The tribute was preceded by an early morning wreath-laying ceremony at the finish line. Walsh, Gov. Deval Patrick, and the families of Martin Richard, Lingzi Lu, Krystle Campbell, and MIT Police Officer Sean Collier walked down Boylston Street, stopping outside the Boston Public Library for a solemn ceremony in the light rain.
Afterward, Walsh invited Henry Richard to tag along as the mayor drove over to greet Vice President Joe Biden at Logan Airport. Biden invited the two of them onto the plane, known as Air Force Two, and posed for pictures with them. Later, in addressing the victims and survivors at the Hynes, Biden said, “You are truly, truly inspiring…You have become the face of America’s resolve.”
The tribute also featured testimonials from several survivors, including Patrick Downes, who lost his left leg below the knee; Adrianne Haslet-Davis, a ballroom dancer who lost her left leg below the knee; and Luis Yepez Jr., who was injured along with his son David. All of them became connected to one another, bound by tragedy, after the bombs went off. “There are no strangers here,” Patrick said. “In the days and weeks after the Marathon last year, we were reminded how few degrees of separation there are, in fact, between us.”
Thomas Menino, who was the mayor on the day last April, also spoke. Hate and violence interrupted a beautiful day, but Boston emerged stronger, he said. “This day will always be hard, but this place will always be strong,” he added.