This past August, a memorial commemorating the lives lost and impact of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing was installed along Boylston Street. The City of Boston recently released a brief documentary highlighting the design process and meaning behind the monument entitled Re-Marking the Boston Marathon.
The memorial consists of two different marker sites, one located at the finish line and the other further down Boylston Street. It honors the three civilian victims (8-year-old Martin Richard, 23-year-old Boston University graduate student Lingzi Lu, and 29-year-old Medford native Krystle Campbell), as well as the two police officers killed in the aftermath of the bombing (Massachusetts Institute of Technology officer Sean Collier and Boston police officer Dennis Simmonds).
For each of the two officers, cherry trees were planted alongside bricks displaying their respective names and badges. For each of the three victims, stones were gathered from places they cherished to mark their legacies. Boston University donated a piece of its bridge for Lu, Richard’s family selected the stone from Franklin Park, and Campbell’s family chose the stone from Spectacle Island, a place where Campbell spent many enjoyable summers.
Lingzi’s and Richard’s stones conjoin as two pillars, whereas Campbell’s stands alone at the other site. Engraved on the ground around the pillars are quotes, including “Let us climb, now, the road to hope” and “All we have lost is brightly lost” that evoke the legacy of the victims. In front of the stone pillars at each site are four columns of casted glass encased in bronze that shine light.
In the documentary, Pablo Eduardo, the sculptor behind the project, said that his overall vision for the memorial was influenced most by what the families had imagined.
“We don’t want to transmit a sense of optimism,” Eduardo said in the documentary. “We want to transmit a story of the reality that occurred.”
As a result, the memorial appears poignant but solemn, using only stone and lights encased in glass rather than ostentatious flair. For example, Eduardo intended for the lights to act as a form of guard over the stone pillars and as a representation of the fragility and impermanence of people and memories.
Not only was the memorial intended to convey the legacies of the victims, but it was also designed to reflect those otherwise affected by the bombing, and the City of Boston as a whole. All of the stones were sourced from places in New England and were transported into Boston on a truck escorted by several police motorcycles.
“That race, it means more to Boston today because I think we found an identity that day of who we are as a people,” said Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, BC ’09, in the documentary.
“I’ve done public sculpture for 30 years,” Eduardo said in the film. “There’s always some aspect of community involvement, but this one was like a big community. It made the City of Boston seem like a small place. A familiar place, intimate. It’s Boston. Very different than any other place.”
Featured Image by Jonathan Ye / Heights Staff