90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Boston Bombing Memorial Is Removed

In the days after the Boston Marathon bombings back in April, I found myself drawn the area where the bombs exploded.

At first, there were a few American flags tied to the police barricades. Then people started bringing teddy bears, t-shirts that said “Boston Strong,” baseball caps and flowers. They were piled up before the barricades.

Eventually, when the crime scene was cleared, the memorial was moved to Copley Square Park, about half a block from the marathon finish line.

This morning, a crew of volunteers removed the items from the memorial. They will be dried and cleaned and eventually taken to the Boston City Archives.

“It was a very wonderful thing that so many folks came out to, either to add to, walk through or help take care of this temporary space.”
– Chris Osgood

The sun was hardly up when I got there this morning. I met a runner there named Kellie Cullen.

She had flown into Boston from North Carolina last night and said she made it a point to include a stop at the memorial on her morning run. As she spoke to me, she was fighting back tears.

“I don’t know, I just wanted to see it. It’s just so tragic,” Cullen said.

Volunteers placed the items from the memorial into huge plastic bags and loaded them on truck. Susana Crampton is with the preservation organization Historic New England.

“You can’t but be touched by seeing this,” she said. “I think everyone here would agree with that. I think we are all very happy that it will stay preserved.”

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino wrote a letter to the families of the bombing victims and the survivors. In that letter he said, “it is my hope that the respectful closing of the temporary memorial will help us all look to the future.”

He also announced the formation of a Remembrance Committee that will work on creating a permanent memorial to the bombing victims. Chris Osgood works for the mayor’s office. He said the temporary shrine served an important purpose.

“It was a very wonderful thing that so many folks came out to, either to add to, walk through or help take care of this temporary space,” Osgood said.

Another runner, a woman named Sarah Norcott from Boston, said she had mixed emotions as she watched the crews working. She signed the message board at the memorial before it was taken down.

“It’s kind of sad that it’s being taken down but it won’t stop us from forgetting,” she said.

I watched as the volunteers carried the four wooden crosses that had been the centerpiece of the memorial to a van. The crosses represent the three people who were killed in the bombings and the MIT police officer who was allegedly shot to death by the bombing suspects.

Then Copley Square was clear, with just a volunteer who was sweeping away the debris left behind. It was back to normal, you might say. But it will never the same.


Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • samuelpepys

    I presume Mayor Menino was thinking about the tourist season.  People don’t finish grieving in 2 months, especially not when the tragedy is collective.   Hearing yesterday in a single news story that not only was the memorial coming down but that no picnics would be allowed onto the Esplanade after 4:00 for the July 4th Pops concert (“enhanced security”–and saw the beginning of the end of First Night just a few days before) I was reminded again of how much the city had lost.  This action can only be read as slimy (and I think mis-judged) money-grubbing, or an extraordinary failure of fellow-feeling.  Unworthy of the long-term mayor of a grieving city–especially in his final term.

  • HashtagCMartin

    I visited the memorial at least a dozen times, and it really was so touching how much effort and kindness was put into each and every memento left  behind. I think it really displayed the best side of people, and it was nice to be reminded of that every time I visited. I hope I’m misunderstanding the mayor’s decision to place all the items in the city archive, only making available for viewing select items by request. I hope the city finds a permanent and public place to display the items from the memorial. We have museums and public buildings all over the city– why not utilize the public space we have?

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

April 17 3 Comments

Jane Goodall Plants ‘Seeds Of Hope’

The world-famous primatologist discusses her new book, which is back on shelves after some controversy.

April 17 9 Comments

College Advice From A High School Counselor

Lisa Micele answers listener questions and explains what schools are looking for beyond GPAs and standardized test scores.

April 16 Comment

ER Doctor Looks Back A Year After Marathon Bombing

Dr. Ron Medzon, an emergency room physician at Boston Medical Center, recalls treating victims injured in the bombing.

April 16 36 Comments

Tensions Build In San Francisco Amid Tech Boom

As San Francisco experiences a historic economic boom, some activists say not all city residents are reaping the benefits.