President Obama Speaks at an Interfaith Prayer Service in Boston

Posted By on November 19, 2019


(applause) The President:
Thank you. Please. (applause) Hello, Boston. Scripture tells us to run with
endurance the race that is set before us. Run with endurance the
race that is set before us. On Monday morning, the
sun rose over Boston. The sunlight glistened
off the State House Dome. In the commons, in the public
garden, spring was in bloom. On this Patriot’s Day,
like so many before, fans jumped onto the T
to see the Sox at Fenway. In Hopkinton, runners laced up
their shoes and set out on a 26.2-mile test of dedication
and grit and the human spirit. And across this city, hundreds
of thousands Bostonians lined the streets to hand the runners
cups of water, to cheer them on. It was a beautiful
day to be in Boston, a day that explains why a poet
once wrote that this town is not just a capital,
not just a place. Boston, he said, is the
perfect state of grace. (applause) And then, in an instant, the
day’s beauty was shattered. A celebration became a tragedy. And so we come together to pray
and mourn and measure our loss. But we also come together today
to reclaim that state of grace, to reaffirm that the spirit of
this city is undaunted and the spirit of the country
shall remained undimmed. To Governor Patrick,
Mayor Menino, Cardinal O’Malley and all the
faith leaders who are here, governors Romney,
Swift, Weld and Dukakis, members of Congress,
and most of all, the people of Boston and the
families who’ve lost a piece of your heart, we thank
you for your leadership. We thank you for your courage. We thank you for your grace. I’m here today on behalf
of the American people with a simple message. Every one of us has been
touched by this attack on your beloved city. Every one of us stands with you. Because, after all, it’s
our beloved city, too. Boston may be your hometown
but we claim it, too. It’s one of America’s
iconic cities. It’s one of the
world’s great cities. And one of the reasons, the
world knows Boston so well is that Boston opens its
heart to the world. Over successive generations,
you’ve welcomed again and again new arrivals to our shores;
immigrants who constantly reinvigorated this city and this
commonwealth and our nation. Every fall, you welcome students
from all across America and all across the globe. And every spring, you graduate
them back into the world — a Boston diaspora that excels in
every field of human endeavor. Year after year, you welcome the
greatest talents in the arts, in science, research. You welcome them to your concert
halls and your hospitals and your laboratories to exchange
ideas and insights that draw this world together. And every third Monday in April,
you welcome people from all around the world to the hub for
friendship and fellowship and healthy competition — a
gathering of men and women of every race and every religion,
every shape and every size — a multitude represented by all
those flags that flew over the finish line. So whether folks come here
to Boston for just a day, or they stay here for years,
they leave with a piece of this town tucked firmly
into their hearts. So Boston’s your home town, but
we claim it a little bit too. I know this — (applause) — I know this because there’s
a piece of Boston in me. You welcomed me as a young law
student across the river — welcomed Michelle too. You welcomed me — (applause) — you welcomed me during a
convention when I was still a state senator and very
few people could pronounce my name right. (laughter) Like you, Michelle and I
have walked these streets. Like you, we know
these neighborhoods. And like you, in
this moment of grief, we join you in saying:
Boston, you’re my home. For millions of us, what
happened in Monday is personal. It’s personal. Today our prayers are with the
Campbell family of Medford. They’re here today. Their daughter Krystle
was always smiling. Those who knew her said that
with her red hair and her freckles and her ever-eager
willingness to speak her mind, she was beautiful, sometimes
she could be a little noisy, and everybody loved her for it. She would have
turned 30 next month. As her mother said,
through her tears, this doesn’t make any sense. Our prayers are with
the Lu family of China, who sent their daughter Lingzi
to BU so that she could experience all that
this city has to offer. She was a 23-year-old
student, far from home. And in the heartache of her
family and friends on both sides of the great ocean, we’re
reminded of the humanity that we all share. Our prayers are with the
Richard family of Dorchester, to Denise and the young daughter
Jane, as they fight to recover. And our hearts are broken
for 8-year-old Martin, with his big smile
and bright eyes. His last hours were as perfect
as an 8-year-old boy could hope for, with his family, eating
ice cream at a sporting event. And we’re left with two enduring
images of this little boy, forever smiling for his beloved
Bruins and forever expressing a wish he made on a blue poster
board: No more hurting people. Peace. No more hurting people. Peace. Our prayers are with the
injured, so many wounded, some gravely. From their beds, some are surely
watching us gather here today. And if you are, know this: 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. (applause) You will run again — (applause)
— because that’s what the people of Boston are made of. Your resolve is the greatest
rebuke to whoever committed this heinous act. If they sought to intimidate
us, to terrorize us, to shake us from those
values that Deval described, the values that make us who
we are as Americans, well, it should be pretty clear by now
that they picked the wrong city to do it. (cheers and applause) Not here in Boston.
Not here in Boston. (cheers and applause) You showed us, Boston,
that in the face of evil, Americans will lift
up what’s good. In the face of cruelty,
we will choose compassion. In the face of those who would
visit death upon innocents, we will choose to save and
to comfort and to heal. We’ll choose friendship. We’ll choose love. Because Scripture teaches us God
has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power,
love and self-discipline. And that’s the spirit you’ve
displayed in recent days. When doctors and nurses, police
and firefighters and EMTs and guardsmen run towards explosions
to treat the wounded, that’s discipline. When exhausted runners,
including our troops and veterans, who never expected to
see such carnage on the streets back home, become first
responders themselves, tending to the injured,
that’s real power. When Bostonians carry
victims in their arms, deliver water and blankets,
line up to give blood, open their homes
to total strangers, give them rides back to
reunite with their families, that’s love. That’s the message we send to
those who carried this out and anyone who would do
harm to our people. Yes, we will find you. And yes, you will face justice. (applause) We will find you. We will hold you accountable. But more than that, our
fidelity to our way of life, for a free and open society,
will only grow stronger, for God has not given us a
spirit of fear and timidity, but one of power and
love and self-discipline. Like Bill Ifrig, 78 years old —
the runner in the orange tank top who we all saw get
knocked down by the blast, we may be momentarily
knocked off our feet — (laughter) — but we’ll pick ourselves up. We’ll keep going. We will finish the race. (applause) In the words of Dick Hoyt, who
has pushed his disabled son Rick in 31 Boston marathons, we can’t
let something like this stop us. (applause) This doesn’t stop us. (applause) And that’s what you’ve
taught us, Boston. That’s what you’ve reminded
us, to push on, to persevere, to not grow weary, to not get
faint even when it hurts. Even when our heart aches, we
summon the strength that maybe we didn’t even know we had, and
we carry on; we finish the race. (applause) We finish the race, and we do
that because of who we are, and we do that because we know
that somewhere around the bend, a stranger has a cup of water. Around the bend, somebody’s
there to boost our spirits. On that toughest mile, just when
we think that we’ve hit a wall, someone will be there to cheer
us on and pick us up if we fall. We know that. (applause) And that’s what the perpetrators
of such senseless violence, these small, stunted individuals
who would destroy instead of build and think somehow that
makes them important — that’s what they don’t understand. Our faith in each other,
our love for each other, our love for country, our common
creed that cuts across whatever superficial differences there
may be, that is our power. That’s our strength. That’s why a bomb can’t beat us. That’s why we don’t hunker down. That’s why we don’t
cower in fear. We carry on. We race. We strive. We build and we work and we
love and we raise our kids to do the same. And we come together to
celebrate life and to walk our cities and to cheer
for our teams when the Sox, then Celtics, then Patriots or
Bruins are champions again, to the chagrin of New
York and Chicago fans. The crowds will gather
and watch a parade go down Boylston Street. And this time next year on
the third Monday in April, the world will return to this
great American city to run harder than ever and to
cheer even louder for the 118th Boston Marathon. (applause) Bet on it. (cheers and applause) Tomorrow the sun will
rise over Boston. Tomorrow the sun will rise over
the — this country that we love, this special place,
this state of grace. Scripture tells us to run with
endurance the race that is set before us. As we do, may God hold close
those who’ve been taken from us too soon, may he comfort their
families and may he continue to watch over these
United States of America. (cheers and applause)

Posted by Lewis Heart

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