An emptied core, a bloom in spring

Boston pauses to remember
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Story highlights

  • Boston, nation observe moment of silence a week after bombing
  • City urged to "stay strong" in aftermath
  • "It's going to be a lot different next year," says one resident
Last Monday the cheers and celebration of crowds lining Boylston Street for the Boston Marathon were overwhelmed by the blasts of two bombs.
Today, at the moment the bombs went off, silence.
A line of Boston police officers extended out across Boylston Street. A horseshoe-shaped group of first responders surrounded the site of one blast. Hundreds of people gathered at nearby intersections. Some wept.
Union laborers stood beside police and other Boston residents, their heads bowed, as the city sat eerily quiet until a harp's song sliced the silence.
After that, all that could be heard was the whoosh of the wind.
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"It's a new thing people are going to have to keep in their hearts now," said local student and Somerville resident Michael Sadler, who joined hundreds gathered at the corner of Hereford and Bolyston streets. "There's just a lot of memories on those blocks. But a lot of it doesn't make sense."
The rest of the country paid its respects. The New York Stock Exchange went silent as well. So did the president and the U.S. Senate.
But Boston has not been silenced by the tragedy. Signs calling for the city to "stay strong" were scattered throughout the area, as were hundreds of flowers and stuffed animals sporting Red Sox and Bruins T-shirts. A few American flags were attached to the wall of a bank.
Outside the six-block zone barricaded by authorities, it was business -- and living -- as usual. People shopped at Prudential Center, strolled through the Back Bay, took the T to Downtown Crossing. The Red Sox are playing at Fenway Park Monday night.
Though the grand Boston Public Library, not far away, remained closed, it is scheduled to open Tuesday.
The Hub of the Universe does not give up.
Last week was a shock to the system. How could it be otherwise? The sound of the explosions "was so strong the bar filled up with smoke and chairs tipped over," one witness told CNN. "I saw people -- it was like they were on a trampoline literally flying through the air."
Mark Gordon recently moved to a high-rise apartment on Boylston Street and had a perfect view of the marathon from his balcony. It was a glorious day in Boston, the city he'd lived in for 12 years.
He was doing household chores when the first bomb went off. "I'll never look out my window the same way again even though it's been six short days," Gordon said.
The Marathon is usually a 26.2-mile party -- "the old, drunk uncle of Boston sports, the last of the true festival events," Massachusetts native and Boston-area resident Charles P. Pierce wrote on Grantland. It used to offer a bowl of beef stew to the winner.
More than 100 years into its existence, it remains a celebration of humanity, its route lined with the whole spectrum of life, from little kids to old-timers, coming out to enjoy a sure sign of spring.
"It's going to be a lot different next year," said Karen Russell, a Cambridge resident who works in Boston. "They'll probably have a lot more security. But it'll all be different."
The flowers blooming this year are out for a different reason. But, as the Twitter hashtag had it, #BostonStrong.
"Boston is a tough & resilient town," said one sign near Boylston Street. "So are its people."