Healing moments in Nashua for Boston
NASHUA -- As the nation grieves with Boston, local citizens were urged on Wednesday to separate themselves from the hate, and to instead embrace goodwill during times of tragedy.
Gathering to light candles at Nashua's City Hall Plaza, a crowd of area residents mourned the loss of three innocent victims and the nearly 180 individuals wounded when two bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon on Monday.
"There is a lot of potential to start hating," state Rep. David Murotake told those in the audience, asking each of them to respond to the evil with good.
Remember the marathoners, remember your inner strength and remember that goodwill prevails, said Murotake.
"Don't let them win," he added. "Moments like this are healing moments, and it makes us think of things greater than ourselves."
Murotake, echoing the words of Pope Francis, encouraged New Hampshire residents to overcome the tragedy not by evil but with good.
Wednesday's candlelight vigil was organized by Stacie Laughton, a city resident who said she was moved to do something to show respect for the victims of Monday's senseless horror.
"I don't know how much more Americans can take, so I think it is important to bring people together tonight to help us all stay strong," said Laughton. "This time it was just so close to home."
People young and old participated in the event, each of them having their own reason for attending the brief ceremony.
Kenneth Doucette of Nashua attended the vigil in place of all the victims unable to participate because of their current medical conditions.
"I am here for those who died, and I am here for those who are in critical condition. I am also here for all of those suffering from the psychological trauma associated with this attack," said Doucette. "I can't help but think about them."
Listening to patriotic songs and waving flags, the crowd also held a moment of silence for the three lives lost in the bombings. As their names were read, a prayer was also said aloud for them and their families.
Debbie Frank of Nashua said she was pleased to have an outlet, a place to express her feelings on Wednesday evening.
"This is when you embrace one another as a community. I think you need a place to put all of those emotions," Frank said at the start of the vigil. "Being together like this gives us hope during a time of weakness."
A 10-year-old girl from Nashua, Tiffany Eddy, said she was proud to attend the vigil and pay her respects to the victims. Upon learning about the events Monday in Boston, Eddy said, "I wanted to cry."
And as the nation weeps once again, Lisa Brunelle of Nashua says the memories of the Newtown, Conn., school massacre are again brought to light as Nashua residents also gathered on the front steps of City Hall following that tragedy in December.
"You just never know nowadays what is going to happen next. This was way too close to home for me," said Brunelle, whose brother works in Boston.