Boston StrongThis Tuesday, April 15th, 2014, marked the one-year anniversary of the tragic bombings at the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon.

Boston is one of the largest cities in the United States, and its marathon one of the most beloved and well-known sporting events in the world.  The two home-made bombs set off by the Tsarnaev brothers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar, shook the city to its core while unifying and bringing out the best in the strong people that proudly call Boston home.

A tribute ceremony was held at the Hynes Convention Center on Boylston Street on Tuesday afternoon, featuring Vice President Joe Biden, Mayor Martin J. Walsh, former mayor Thomas M. Menino and Governor Deval Patrick.  There were also words from survivors and performances by the Boston Children’s Chorus and the Boston Pops.

A flag-raising ceremony was held at the finish, with a moment of silence at 2:48 p.m. to mark the time the bombs went off.  Bells tolled as the flag was raised; the national anthem was performed afterward.  Later, a candlelight vigil was held at Garvey Park in Dorchester.

BioSurplus In Watertown

BioSurplus opened a warehouse and showroom in Watertown in December 2012, and since has thrown down roots as a member of the local life sciences community.  Kevin Burke, Senior Sales Associate, was working from home on the day of the bombings:

“At first we didn’t know what was happening, just that something big had occurred.  For the last four years, I had been right there at the finish line of the race.  That year I was watching on TV when the news broke.  When they finally announced the bombing I was in shock—I just couldn’t believe it.  Quite a few of my friends were running.  I later found out that one of them was just a few feet from the finish line when it happened, pulled to safety by a police officer just in time.”

The BioSurplus showroom was shut down during the resulting manhunt.  The shootout in Watertown on April 19th, 2013, between police and the Tsarnaev brothers took place less than two miles away.

Kevin Burke (r), with Celina Chang (l), Associate Director, Lab Central
Kevin Burke (r), with Celina Chang (l), Associate Director, Lab Central.

Local residents were terrified, and the marks left behind, both psychological and physical—including bullet holes and a car with a shot-out windshield—are still present in the neighborhood.

Kevin, who doesn’t live in Watertown himself, immediately thought about friends and co-workers in the area, and quickly reached out to make sure they were all right.

In the end, he was impressed by the way the Boston community responded to the tragedy:

“The local government did an amazing job of responding and recognizing the victims and heroes that rushed to their aid.  It was moving to me, the way the sports teams like the Red Sox rallied the community, and the way ‘Boston Strong’ quickly became the city’s rallying cry.  I’m proud to be a part of this community.”

BioSurplus typically holds a traditional customer-appreciation party, Cinco de Bio, at the beginning of May at each of its three locations.  The inaugural Boston edition was set to be held soon after the bombing.  In deference to the victims and their families, the party was cancelled, and a fundraiser was held in its stead.  All proceeds were donated to The One Fund Boston.

This Year’s Race

In a show of collective resilience, this year’s race is right on schedule.

With the largest number of participants since the 100th anniversary in 1996—36,000 runners are officially registered, including 5,000 that were stopped last year before they could reach the finish line—and double the number of spectators over last year at two million, the event is sure to be an emotional one for all.

Former Boston mayor Thomas M. Menino had this to say at Tuesday’s ceremony at the Hynes Convention Center:

“(I’m) so blessed to be here even though this day will always be hard.  It will always be hard, but this place will always be strong.”

In his own speech, Joe Biden added:

“You’ve become the face of America’s resolve for all the world to see.”

We’re looking forward to seeing that face on Monday at the 118th Boston Marathon.