Responding to Monday’s bombings at the Boston Marathon and a Sunday night fatal stabbing in town, more than 100 Milton residents gathered at Town Hall Tuesday evening for an interfaith vigil.
“We just came up with the idea and it was spread by word of mouth,” said Ginny Grimes Allen, the chaplain for Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Milton. “It was a joint feeling among all of the Milton interfaith clergy that we really needed to do something and bond together in this crisis.”
Allen, along with fellow members of the Milton Interfaith Clergy Association, led residents in songs and prayers at the Town Hall gazebo, which was overflowing. Hung from the side of the gazebo was a majestic American flag, which swayed in the breeze as residents sang and prayed.
Parisa Parsa of the First Parish Church of Milton welcomed those assembled and began the vigil at 7 p.m., the day after the Marathon attack and two since the stabbing.
“When we are faced with tragedy, out first response, the human response is always to wonder ‘what can I do?’” said Parsa,thanking first responders and medical personnel who performed so admirably during the marathon tragedy. “The rest of us hold our breath and wait to know what is ours to do.”
One thing she said everyone could do was to gather together, remembering that human connection is the thing that can heal in troubling times.
Parsa repeated the names of those Marathon victims that had been made public – 8-year-old Martin Richards and Krystle Campbell. The third victim, Lingzi Lu, had not yet been identified at the time, and was just referred to as “a third, unknown.”
Following a moment of silence for those victims, she added Jordan Baskin, who was stabbed to death near his home on Hudson Street on Sunday evening. Another moment of silence was observed.
Residents sang “Let There Be Peace on Earth,” “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands,” “Peace like a River,” “Dona Nobis Pacem,” and “Go Now In Peace.”
Rabbi Fred Benjamin of Temple Shalom read the story of Cain and Abel, urging residents to respond in “godly ways” to tragedy.
Following the half-hour event, Allen said she was pleased with the gathering.
“It brings the spirit among us, and we really feel that bond of unity with one another,” she said. “We’ve done it before with other situations and it seems to be successful.”
Karen Groce-Horan said she came out to feel connected to the community. She had been shaken by the Boston Marathon tragedy as a person who usually volunteers at a water spot near the finish line.
“I just feel for them,” Groce-Horan said of the victims.
Regarding the vigil, she said she was glad she came.
“It was nice,” she said. “It was low key, well done, simply stated.”
Clusters of young people, many of them from the Milton High School class of 2009 who knew Baskin, were also present.
One person who declined to give his name described Baskin as a good person. “He was just great,” the man said.
Samantha Bennett was among her classmates talking following the vigil.
“It is good to see everyone coming together,” she said.
Former classmate Jackie Linehan, standing beside Bennett, agreed that togetherness was important
“It’s something we just have to do,” Linehan said.