Boston on Wednesday marked the seventh anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings, but without in-person events to reflect on the tragedy.
Dubbed One Boston Day, the anniversary is typically marked by gatherings and service projects aimed at honoring the victims of the bombing and reflecting on the city’s resiliency in its aftermath.
At 2:49 p.m., the Old South Church — located near the race’s finish line — rang its bells to commemorate those lost in the bombings, as it does each year. But there weren’t the usual gatherings nearby.
This year, Mayor Marty Walsh encouraged people to stay home and practice social distancing because of the coronavirus crisis that Boston, Massachusetts and the rest of the country are contending with.
“This is a ‘One Boston’ moment,” Walsh said at a news conference earlier Wednesday. “We’re in the most vulnerable part in the outbreak with cases surging to a peak in the next two weeks.”
Slowing the spread of the virus “takes every single one of us to act for the greater good every single day,” he said.
Walsh asked people to reflect on the work of those on the front lines of the pandemic and reach out to people who are at higher risk, such as elderly people and those with underlying health conditions.
Boston’s police, fire and EMS departments planned to hold a One Boston Day “cavalcade” at 7:30 p.m. in which a parade of vehicles will pass by many of the area’s biggest health care centers: Boston Medical Center, Tufts, Mass General Hospital, St Elizabeth’s, Beth Israel Deaconess, Children’s, Brigham & Women’s and the Carney.
The cavalcade is meant to honor medical staff for all they are doing to help the city amid the pandemic.
Walsh hosted an online interfaith prayer service at 2 p.m. Wednesday that was streamed on the city’s website and local cable access channels.
Because in-person events were not held this year, Walsh encouraged Bostonians to share their reflections on the meaning of One Boston Day on social media, using the hashtag #OneBostonDay.