Hundreds of supporters gathered around the Parkman Bandstand on Boston Common Tuesday night to honor the victims of the Boston Marathon explosions and their loved ones in a vigil called Peace, Here and Everywhere.
In the quiet crowd, visitors lit candles, signed banners, and listened to a choir perform, sometimes joining in for songs including “Amazing Grace” and “The Star Spangled Banner.”
“I think it’s kind of beautiful,” said Alicia Carroll, an Emerson College freshman at the vigil. “It reminds me of the patriotic feel of the inauguration. It’s nice to see so many people that care.”
Cloth banners were placed on the ground with markers laying nearby for anyone to add a positive note to the colorful community contributions already there. Messages included, “We are Boston strong,” “We’re all with you,” “Peace,” and “Love destroys hate.” One small child waving an American flag in the front of the crowd attracted many somber stares, possibly a reminder of the attack’s first reported death, 8-year-old Martin Richard.
Surrounding the banners, many supporters looked on silently, sometimes breaking down in tears, embracing their loved ones, and offering lit candles to those arriving.
Organizers elected not to have an official format for the vigil. Instead, attendees were encouraged to bring flowers, banners, song lyrics, or anything else that promoted the peaceful theme.
“There will be no agenda, no speakers, and no nonsense,” the Facebook event description stated.
In this fashion, members of one of Emerson College’s acapella groups, Achoired Taste, started an impromptu performance of The Beatles song “Let It Be.”
Minako Sumi, a marathon runner at the vigil who was not physically hurt by the blasts, said she came to the gathering for a simple reason.
“I wanted to pray,” she said.
In terms of upcoming peace efforts, Carroll said that she is encouraging fellow Bostonians to join events like Boston College’s “The Last 5,” where organizers hope to symbolically finish the marathon this Friday.
“It doesn’t end here,” she said.