Biden in Boston: 'We own the finish line'

 

Vice President Biden on Tuesday said the survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing are living proof the United States will never yield to terrorism.

Biden said the estimated 36,000 runners slated to participate in the marathon on Monday will send a message about the strength of the city, and the country more broadly.

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"Not just to the rest of the world, but to the terrorists," Biden said. "That we will never yield, we will never cower. America will never ever, ever stand down. We are Boston, we are America, we respond, we endure, we overcome. And we own the finish line."

Biden spoke at a tribute for the victims of the bombings at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston on Tuesday. The explosions a year ago Tuesday killed three people and injured hundreds more, the result of two bombs made from pressure cookers loaded with shrapnel.

From experience, Biden noted anniversaries are "bittersweet" moments for the familes of the victims. But he said they could take some solace that they are an inspiration to people across the world.

He noted the iconic picture taken after the bombing of a man in a cowboy hat who helped treat a victim whose legs had been destroyed in the explosion.

"That photograph, that picture is hanging on walls around the world," he said.

Biden said the bombers, and terrorists in general, are "infuriated" by the country's unwillingness to bend in the face of tragedy.

"That is why the twisted, cowardly terrorists who acted here, and other places, do what they do," he said. "They try to instill fear so that we will jettison what we value the most and what the world most values about us."

He mentioned the United States's open society, including the criminal justice system, freedom of religion, the right to assemble and access to opportunity.

The White House had scheduled a moment of silence for the victims of the attack at 2:49 p.m. on Tuesday — the time the bombs exploded last year. Obama released a statement earlier in the day, remembering the victims and those who helped in the wake of the bombings.

The marathon next Monday is expected to have the second-largest field in its history, with 36,000 runners.

Gov. Deval Patrick (D) has said the city is prepared and security preparations were "on steroids" ahead of the event.

During the memorial service, Patrick said the country should remember the sense of community that came after the bombing.

"There are no strangers here," he told the crowd. "In the days and weeks after the marathon last year, we were reminded how few degrees there are, in fact, between us."

Biden spoke after Patrick, former Mayor Thomas Menino and survivors and family of the victims, saying he had "never witnessed a tribute like I've heard today."

The Boston attack in April 2013 spawned a days-long manhunt in the surrounding area to track down the bombers. It eventually led to the arrest of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and the death of his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

The three who died during the bombings were Krystle Campbell, Lingzi Lu and Martin Richard. An MIT police officer, Sean Collier, was also killed during the manhunt for the two bombers. 

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to 30 federal charges. The Justice Department earlier this year said it will seek the death penalty for the accused bomber.

A number of reports have been released since the bombing that have found some flaws in information sharing between federal and local law enforcement. The reports have also focused on Tamerlan Tsarnaev's travel to Russia and his potential for radicalization.

But officials have uncovered no link to a terror network, and say the bombings appear to be a case of home-grown extremism. 

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