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Boston Marathon Anniversary: Victims Families 'Take Back Finish Line' in Memory of Those Lost, Wounded

( [email protected] ) Apr 17, 2014 12:52 PM EDT

A year ago, the worst terrorist attack since 9/11 rocked the streets of Boston, interrupting one of the city's best events, shocking a nation, and ripping many individual lives apart. One family in particular took a terrible blow, and they are still running their race a year removed from the tragic event.  

In a recent story in two parts with the Boston Globe, the Richard family opens up about losing their 8 year old son Martin, and watching their other two children, 7 year old Jane and Henry, their 11 year old, cope since the tragic day.

MartinRichard.png
Young Martin Richards was a proponent of peace. A picture showed him holding a poster with a peace sign that read ''No More Hurting People'' that he had made after the Sandy Hook massacre. ((Photo : Lucia Brawley/Facebook)

A family struck hard by the attack, and struggling mightily just to open up about their story to friends and family now wants to start a foundation in their son Martin's name.  

Finally opening up to an adoring city late last year regarding what he came to call "the event," Bill Richard and his wife, Denise, were wrestling with how to draw some meaning out of the disaster that took their son, the only child among their three who died on Marathon day.

Bill was still recovering from a second operation to repair his blown eardrums, while Denise was learning to cope with being blind in her once dominate right eye. Neither had much time for their own needs, so important were the constant medical appointments for Jane, their 7-year-old daughter, who lost her left leg and was still learning to walk with a prosthesis. They also remained concerned about their older son, Henry, who at age 11 escaped the shrapnel but had to live with what he witnessed, and lived through since the tragedy.

After being knocked so low, and thankful for the community that has supported their slow grind back up, they wanted to do something positive for their community.   

Now, with just a short time until this year's Boston Marathon, they find themselves fully engaged in getting the foundation they set up to honor their son Martin off to a strong start.  In addition to working to support the team of 100 runners who make up "Team MR8," they have been working to "make the world a better place", according to the the family blog.  

Although they know the anniversary of last years bombing, which killed 3 people and injured 264 other people, will be hard, they feel driven to show their support for the city and the other people still recovering from the tragic event.  

"Our gratitude will never diminish for the support and love we have received over the last eleven-plus months.  As the next few weeks come and go, we will be thinking about all of the families that have been impacted by the senseless events of last April, and proud of the way the community around us has persevered," Richard writes on the family blog.

Lingzi Lu
(Photo : Lingzi foundation)
Lingzi Lu was an inspiration to many before tragedy struck last year.

Another among the dead, Lingzi Lu, a graduate student at Boston University when she was killed, also has family coming to this years marathon.  

Jun Lu and Ling Meng felt they had to make the 7,000-mile trek from their home in China to remember their only daughter.  

They wanted to be at this year's race, cheering on runners.

"We cherish everything that Lingzi was a part of," Jun Lu said through an interpreter in another Boston Globe story. "Even though last year's Marathon [was tragic], we want to be there to witness something good come out of it."

Lu and Meng will be among the many family members of victims coming to Boston this week for official remembrances that are stirring up hope, but also pain.

"The last year has been very painful," Lu Said. "But fortunately, we've received so much love from people all over the world. We're humbled."

Lingzi Lu's family recently started a foundation to provide scholarships and other charities that honor Lu's memory.

"Lingzi was very intelligent and very driven," her father said. "She was full of life and compassion."

That sentiment was also put forth Monday night by friends and family of Lingzi who spoke during a memorial service at Marsh Chapel on the BU campus.

Her close friend and former roommate, Li Jing, said they bonded "like long-lost sisters" after meeting two years ago.

"Lingzi, we miss you so much," said Jing, a BU graduate student tried to hold it together during her heart wrenching remarks. "God loves you, so do we, and love never fails."

Yujue Wang, a BU undergraduate who is part of a group running this year's Marathon in Lu's honor, remembered her during the memorial as "an inspirational scholar, a compassionate friend."

"This year," Wang said, "we're taking back the finish line for Lingzi."