BOSTON (AP) — In the initial moments after a bomb exploded near the finish line of last year's Boston Marathon, no one dared call it a terrorist attack. But after a second bomb exploded, "the word hung heavy in the air," Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said Monday at a symposium on leading cities through crisis.
"The chaos of those early moments is hard to describe," Patrick told a crowd of about 200 municipal leaders, emergency responders and others gathered at Boston University.
Cooperation among emergency medical responders, government officials and law enforcement helped the city get through that day in April and the months since then, said Patrick and others who spoke at the event, which focused on the response to the marathon bombing.
"In so many ways, what we saw through the success of that experience was the power of working together," Patrick said.
Twin bombs placed near the finish line of last year's marathon killed three people and wounded more than 260. One suspect in the bombing was killed in a shootout with police several days later, while his brother survived and awaits trial.
Former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said he and Patrick began creating a victims' assistance organization, the One Fund, within hours of the attack. The fund has distributed about $61 million to victims, and has raised millions more.
"Every country in the world donated to the One Fund — just think about that," Menino
Raising money for the victims helped bring the community together after the deadly attack, the former administrator of the fund said.
The fundraising success showed "a collective empathy" in the local community and the nation, Kenneth Feinberg said. He said it helped send a message to the attackers "how we as a people take care of our own."
The money was raised and distributed to victims within 75 days.
"We want everybody to know we're one community," Feinberg said.
He said promotion by Patrick and Menino helped drive donations to the fund.