Monday, September 26, 2016

Beauty Beyond the Bombings

Last May, Mayor Michael J. McGlynn of Medford, MA and his team thought they would honor Krystle Campbell, the Medford native taken during the Boston Marathon bombings in 2014, with a few park benches and a plaque bearing her name. But on Friday, September 23rd, an emotional McGlynn stood beside Krystle’s father, Bill, and announced a $1 million plan, kept secret for nearly a year, to build a peace garden honoring Krystle and the three other people, Lingzi Lu, Martin Richard, and Sean Collier, killed in the bombings and the tragic aftermath, the injured, and the race itself.

It will include five fountains, a flagpole symbolizing the Marathon starting line in Hopkinton, and milestones to denote landmarks along the race route. The focal point will be the fountains, one each to represent Krystle, Lingzi, Martin and Sean, and one representing the world and all who were injured in the lasting effects of the attacks. Each fountain will be marked with a bronze memorial plaque that will form compass points. The plaque for 29-year-old Krystle will point east because she lived east of the garden; Sean’s to the north because he hails from Wilmington; Martin’s to the south toward his home in Dorchester; and Lingzi’s to the west. The memorial plaques will include images or symbols reflecting each of the victims. a baseball, two bats, and home plate for Martin, who played Little League, for example, and a replica of Sean’s police badge. There is nothing more beautiful than the love and support that is evident in this garden.

The city hopes to continue developing the peace garden and making sure it has year-round upkeep. Seventeen of Krystle's friends and her family are running the Boston Marathon this year to honor her and raise awareness about her memorial fund, established at the Boston Foundation. The fund pays for scholarships at Krystle's alma mater, Medford High School, and supports the MSPCA-
Angell Animal Medical Center, and organizations that help autistic children. A softball tournament honoring Krystle will also take place in Medford, April 26 and 27 to raise money for her scholarship fund. Last year, the Medford High softball team dedicated its season to her, wearing black armbands in her honor and creating “Medford Strong” T-shirts. The community involvement in honoring Krystle, Lingzi, Martin and Sean, and remembering all of those effected by this tragedy shows how resilient people can be.

We can't wait to walk through this beautiful garden and enjoy the peace it has brought to Medford and Krystle's family and friends. Kudos to Mayor McGlynn and his team for devouring the details of this remarkable tribute!

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