BOSTON (CBSNewYork/AP) — President Barack Obama declared “there is a piece of Boston in me” Thursday as he paid tribute to a shaken city hours before the FBI released several surveillance images of two suspects being sought in the deadly attacks at the Boston Marathon.
“Every one of us has been touched by this attack on your beloved city. Every one of us stands with you,” Obama said.
Obama addressed an interfaith service at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston in the aftermath of Monday’s blasts that killed three and injured more 170 people at the finish line of the marathon.
“We may be momentarily knocked off our feet, but we’ll pick ourselves up. We’ll keep going. We will finish the race.” he said, declaring later: “You will run again!”
The president and first lady Michelle Obama sat in the front of the church next to Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick as the service began. Obama then listened from his pew as Boston Mayor Thomas Menino praised the response of his city.
“Nothing will take us down because we take care of one another,” Menino said. “Even with the smell of smoke in the air and blood in the streets and tears in our eyes, we triumphed over that hateful act.”
Menino said Boston has “never loved the people of the world and this great country more for their prayers and wishes” in the wake of the bombings, adding “We even love New York City more.”
“‘Sweet Caroline’ playing at Yankee Stadium and our city’s flag flying in lower Manhattan — It gives us even more strength to say prayer after prayer for the victims still recovering in the hospitals and at home,” he said. “It gives strength to say goodbye.”
Moments later, Patrick said: “We will grieve our losses and heal. We will rise, and we will endure. We will have accountability without vengeance, vigilance without fear.”
Those who filled the 2,000 seats inside the cathedral represented many religions, but their prayers were the same during the interfaith service titled “Healing Our City.”
“To be here united, to stand together, for the truth of peace and love and justice and mercy,” Mother Olga Yaqob, of the Archdiocese of Boston, told CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider.
“We’re all one. We’re all from Boston. After 9/11, we were all from New York,” Angad Singh added.
The line to get inside for the service extended nearly three blocks. Some waited for 12 hours. Near the front of that line was Ronald Sorenson, who drove from Van Cortlandt Park.
“We’ll get the person that did it. That’s what we want to hear,” he told Schneider.
Bostonians joined dignitaries and others at the service. As WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reported, people expressed their gratitude to the president for his powerful message.
“The city was coming together, he just sort of amplified that,” one resident told Silverman.
Others added that the healing process is now well under way.
“We will be vigilant, but we will not be afraid. That’s not who we are,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said following the service.
Before the service, Obama and the first lady met at the cathedral with members of the family of Krystle Campbell, one of the three killed Monday.
After the observance, Obama visited a gymnasium across the street from the church to thank volunteers who worked at the marathon, saying they displayed “the very best of the American spirit.”
“There’s something about that that’s infectious. It makes us want to be better people,” he said.
Obama then rode to Massachusetts General Hospital, where he met privately with patients, their families and hospital staff.
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