Community Members Leave Flowers, Light Candles at Marathon Vigils

John Y Wang

Members of the Harvard community gather outside Memorial Church at a candlelight vigil to commemorate all those who suffer as a result of the Boston Marathon explosion.

On both sides of the Charles River, they gathered.

Some Harvard community members came to the Kennedy School courtyard, joining hands and trading stories at an afternoon vigil. Others assembled in Boston Common, signing posters and laying down flowers beneath the setting sun. Still others congregated around the steps of Memorial Church in Tercentenary Theater, lighting candles and embracing in spite of a strong evening wind.

All of them came to mourn—to grieve, to reflect, to try to make sense of the bombing that on Monday transformed the triumphant 26th mile of the Boston Marathon into a grisly scene of death and chaos.


A day after explosions at the Boston Marathon and a fire at the JFK Presidential Library prompted a total evacuation of the Harvard Kennedy School, affiliates gathered in the campus courtyard on Tuesday afternoon to participate in a vigil honoring the attacks’ victims and first responders.



Boston Common Vigil

Boston Common Vigil

HBS Community Gathering

HBS Community Gathering

Kennedy School Dean David T. Ellwood ’75, who invited students, staff, and faculty to the event via an email Tuesday morning, told attendees that “we’re here first and foremost as a show of support.”

After the crowd gathered, Ellwood asked everyone to join hands for a moment of silence.

Once the vigil concluded, some attendees slowly returned to the classrooms for regular events, but many remained outdoors to continue discussion.

Monday’s attack coincided with the Kennedy School’s annual Public Service Week, which features community volunteer projects.

Kennedy School student Cindy Dinh, who attended the vigil, said that this gathering offers a chance for students to reflect on the event further and determine how they can best impact the Boston community.

“It was nice to have the Kennedy School come together for this moment,” Dinh said, “especially since it’s a school of public service and everyone wants to spring into action.”

As spectators near the finish line, two Kennedy School students had already sprung into action. When the bombs went off, these students rushed into the mayhem to assist injured spectators and runners, said Kennedy School spokesperson Melodie L. Jackson.

She added that these individuals chose to remain anonymous.

Several Kennedy School students competed in the marathon, including one who was wearing the event’s trademark blue and yellow jersey at the vigil.

The participant, who wished to remain anonymous, said that he was less than a quarter of a mile away from the finish line when the bombs went off and believed at the time that his wife was waiting for him there. He later learned that she had not yet arrived.


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