Exhibit honors Marathon victims, spirit of Boston

BOSTON (WWLP) – In the days and weeks that follow a terrible tragedy like the Boston Marathon bombings, it is overwhelming and painful as communities navigate how to cope and what to do next. At the Boston Public Library, the “Dear Boston” exhibit provides a look back at the very beginning of the healing process for this city.

The makeshift memorial that grew by the hour in the days following the Marathon bombings has been recreated as the “Dear Boston” exhibit, a salutation to the city so many hold dear in their hearts.

Rainey Tisdale, curator of Dear Boston, told 22News that she didn’t want this exhibit to be like a funeral where people left feeling sad and alone. She wanted it to be an experience that lifted their spirits as the city heals all together.

Runner bibs and medals represent what was supposed to be a joyful tradition of athleticism and competition. At the center of the exhibit, rows of sneakers that are a physical symbol of the things you can’t see, left behind along that route.

“There was this need for runners to leave a piece of themselves there, and the shoes are so much a part of their identity as runners,” Tisdale said.

The messages came from Istanbul, Mumbai, and Venezuela. From people who have never been to Boston, to those who consider the city a piece of who they are.

“It’s emotional. I look at my kids and you’re just thankful you’re with your kids. Our friends were running that day and you just have this strong connection with the people you love in your life,” said Alex Jarman, a Massachusetts native who now lives in San Diego.

The Jarman family watched the horror of the marathon bombings on the other side of the country in their new home. They brought their sons to the exhibit to show them the strength of their city.

“Sad that anyone would ever do that to kids, adults, babies,” Max Jarman said. “All of them who were just running.”

So many of the voices in this “Dear Boston” memorial send messages of hope. From repeating the words of the boy whose bright smile was seen around the world: “No more hurting people,” to the tone of the 2014 marathon and every one after: “Boston will run again.”

The “Dear Boston” memorial is located right by the finish line at the Boston Public Library on Boylston Street.

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