The Boston Bruins hosted the Buffalo Sabres in a hockey game on Wednesday evening. One indication that all was not business as usual at TD Garden that night came shortly after Rene Rancourt, since 1976 the voice of the national anthem for the Bruins, began his evening’s work.
Even before Rancourt surrendered his microphone to the multitude and nearly everybody in the packed Garden joined in song, fans outside the building had expressed the sense of community that had brought them into town just 48 hours after two bombs had gone off at the finish line of the marathon. Among them was Sarah Smith, who’d come in from Framingham, Mass., 20 miles west of Boston.
“I feel safe. I feel euphoric. I feel like everybody in there wants to be there,” Smith said. “And sports are a way that unite people and bring people together in a way that not everything else does, and so I feel safe, I feel happy to be here, I made the choice to be here, and I wouldn’t be anywhere else.”
After the game, Bruins left wing Shawn Thornton spoke about the challenge of playing hockey in the wake of the Marathon bombings.
“You feel like you should be doing more than getting ready for a hockey game,” Thorton said. “And I know a bunch of us reached out to see if we could go visit people and do that stuff, and it’s a little bit too early to go see people, but you feel like you should be doing more than playing a game. But if we can give a performance and maybe take people’s minds off it for a few hours, then great.”
Just one day following the Marathon bombings, evidence that Bostonians were not alone became apparent in some unlikely places:
Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline”, the anthem associated with Fenway Park, rang out over the crowd in Yankee Stadium, of all places, and some of the fans joined in.
On Thursday, President Obama came to Boston for an interfaith prayer service. His message to those who’d been injured in the bombings was positive, and some found it inspirational.
“As you begin this long journey of recovery, your city is with you. Your commonwealth is with you. Your country is with you. We will all be with you as you learn to stand and walk and, yes, run again. Of that I have no doubt. You will run again.”
President Obama further suggested that one day soon, one of the Boston teams would once again win a championship, providing the city’s residents with another traditional parade down Boylston Street.
Within the running community, one group organized what they thought might be a modest run along part of the marathon route from Boston College to the finish line. It was supposed to have honored those affected by the bombings. It was supposed to have happened on Friday. But so many people signed up for the run – more than 16,000 – that Boston police quashed it even before the events of Thursday night. For the same reason – excessive enthusiasm – the same fate befell a run in Cambridge, so organizers of that one urged people to print their own bib numbers and run wherever they could over the weekend.
The Red Sox and Bruins games scheduled for Friday night were postponed, as police were seeking the second bombing suspect.