SBD/April 22, 2014/Events and Attractions

Boston Marathon A Day For Celebration Despite Increased Security Presence

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More than 3,500 officers overall worked security along the marathon route
Boston is "enjoying a runner’s high today after a triumphant Boston Marathon -- an idyllic, cathartic and historic spectacle that drew a crowd of more than a million, honored those killed and wounded in last year’s bombings and saw its first American men’s winner in more than three decades," according to the BOSTON HERALD. Four thousand officers from federal, state and local agencies "worked the route, with three state police helicopters hovering overhead." A network of 120 "surveillance cameras streamed images to the state’s emergency bunker ... and more than 80 bomb-sniffing dogs patrolled the route -- four times as many as last year." The crowd was "as vigilant as it was jubilant." Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said security “struck the right balance” between promoting safety and preserving the celebratory tone of Marathon Monday. Boston Police Commissioner William Evans said that the "tight security measures will stay in place 'for now' for other big events, but restrictions could be eased in the long term." He added, "Hopefully, next year, when we look at the plan, we can adjust it, and maybe not have some of the security measures" (BOSTON HERALD, 4/22).

SECURITY PRESENCE FELT: In N.Y., Katharine Seelye notes security was "intensified, with 3,500 uniformed and undercover police officers as well as bomb squads and tactical units." Most spectators "seemed to accept the heightened security, though some felt it infringed on their rights" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/22). In Boston, Maria Cramer reports military police in "combat fatigues and yellow safety vests were seen guarding the line between runners and spectators on some parts of the course, as police helicopters flew overhead." In addition to the "bag and stroller checks, bomb-sniffing dogs, mostly German shepherds and Labradors, were commonplace." Spectators said that along the course the "extra police presence was definitely felt." Evans said, "I apologize if people couldn’t get to certain areas that they hoped to get to, but that was our plan. Public safety comes first, unfortunately." He added that spectators "were cooperative." Evans: "They really made our jobs easier." Only one arrest took place in Boston, as a person was "charged with disorderly conduct." Massachusetts State Police Colonel Timothy Alben: "I don’t think we could have had a better outcome" (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/22).

REASONS FOR CELEBRATING: In Hartford, Lori Riley notes there were 36,000 entrants, and "more than 32,000 runners started the race, up from 27,000 last year." About 5,000 of the 5,600 who did not finish after the race was stopped in '13 "came back to run Monday." It was estimated that 1 million people "watched the race on the 26.2-mile course" (HARTFORD COURANT, 4/22). In DC, Dave Sheinin writes the marathon was "marked by record crowds, historic individual performances and nary a sign of visible danger or destruction." What made the marathon "a success was the fact it looked and felt the way marathon day should look and feel in Boston -- and has felt for generations -- only bigger and better." The law enforcement presence "was massive and at times intense," but the "bolstered security measures did little to keep people away" (WASHINGTON POST, 4/22). USA TODAY's Christine Brennan writes security was "present, but hardly overwhelming" (USA TODAY, 4/22). In Boston, Christopher Gasper writes the mood of the day "was defined by resiliency and a return to normalcy" (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/22). Also in Boston, Eric Moskowitz writes it was the Boston Marathon "cranked to 11." There were "reminders of a year ago," but the "prevailing mood was celebratory, not somber." However, it was "easy to spot the changes from last year, especially at the start and finish, where backpacks were banned, parking was even harder, and crowd movements more restricted, with police visible everywhere" (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/22).

MOVING ON FROM TRAGEDY: In N.Y., Peter May in a front-page piece writes the race "felt like a catharsis" for Boston. A crowd twice as large as for a typical Boston Marathon "showed up to cheer the runners." Twice as many law enforcement officials "patrolled the racecourse as well, a sobering reminder of just one way that the blasts had reshaped the race" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/22). In Boston, Ron Borges writes it was "the day we got back at least some of what we'd lost a year ago" (BOSTON HERALD, 4/22). In N.Y., Jere Longman writes there was a "sense that something fundamental had changed, but also a feeling of reclamation and hopefulness, of a page being turned, of running ahead to keep from always having to mournfully and fearfully look back" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/22). In Phoenix, Bob Young writes Boston and its running community "took back their day" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 4/22). In Boston, Chris Cassidy writes, "We took back our marathon yesterday -- now we have to find a way to hold on to it. Years from now, a new generation not even alive during last year's attacks probably won't feel the same personal connection to Marathon Monday that we, having lived through all of it, do now" (BOSTON HERALD, 4/22).
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