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Resilient spirit helps city move on from bombing

Updated: 2013-11-05 08:00
By Caroline Berg ( China Daily)

Resilient spirit helps city move on from bombing

A police officer monitors the ING New York City Marathon on Sunday in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. With the Boston Marathon bombing earlier this year still fresh in many minds, security was especially tight this year for the New York City event. Andrew Burton / Getty Images via AFP

Click here for more photos of NYC Marathon 

How do you both observe and forget an event from the past?

With memories of the Boston Marathon bombings still fresh, New York Marathon participants donned yellow and blue ribbons on Sunday to honor the victims, but also sought to restore the race's celebratory spirit.

Still, security was a star feature at Sunday's race.

More barricades, bomb-sniffing dogs and 1,500 cameras guarded the five-borough route; scuba divers scanned bridges and shorelines; 45,000 runners were given clear bags to expedite the screening process; and counterterrorism officers escorted Staten Island ferries carrying runners, all thanks to a security budget that was doubled to about $1 million.

Surrounded by all these measures and reminders, it may take a while to move on from the April 15 attack and subsequent city lockdown.

Last week, a Boston University memorial scholarship fund set up in the name of Lu Lingzi, a Chinese graduate student who lost her life after the bombings, reached its $1 million goal.

Just days after bombings, in which more than 260 people were injured and two other people were killed, BU trustee Kenneth Feld was moved to make a $100,000 commitment for a scholarship fund dedicated to Lu.

"It was an emotional response on (Feld's) part," Scott Nichols, senior vice-president for BU development and alumni relations, told China Daily. "When he took it to a (campaign for BU) executive committee meeting, that's when with lightning speed it was, 'Me, too!' and 'Count me in', and 'I'll do that as well', and within literally half a minute we had $560,000 worth of commitments just within our board."

From there, the Lu Lingzi Memorial Scholarship Fund received 1,300 individual contributions from donors worldwide and reached its goal in six months.

One notable donor story includes a Scottish member of the Royal Army, who ran a half marathon in Afghanistan to raise money for the scholarship while dressed in a Batman suit in temperatures of around 38 C.

"It's an unbelievably moving and reassuring gesture that people have made," Nichols said. "It's absolutely uplifting to see how people can care so deeply about someone they never knew, and help make a statement that we're going to do something positive with this horrific negative."

Lu was a dedicated student and an aspiring financial analyst, and was awarded a posthumous degree at the 2013 commencement.

The fund will endow two graduate scholarships and will be awarded to one graduate student annually beginning next fall, providing an annual stipend and full tuition for up to two years, according to BU's provost office.

"The way we keep thinking about this is it was incredibly moving, traumatically moving, to so many people, to lose such a bright, gifted person, and in such a senseless act perpetrated here," Nichols said. "The place is very connected, and I think the smallness of Boston really came out (after this tragedy)."

Surely, the university will always remember what happened on April 15 and the chaotic weeks thereafter, but a resilient spirit and community support will help all to move on.

Contact the writer at carolineberg@chinadailyusa.com

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