WATCH ABOVE: Survivor Celeste Corcoran returns to the Boston Marathon finish line for the first time
TORONTO – A powerful photography series as captured the stories of Boston Marathon bombing survivors and first responders as they reflect on their healing and recovery.
Tuesday marks one year since the twin bombings near the finish line of the April 15 marathon killed three people and wounded more than 260 others.
On Thursday, Robert X. Fogarty released the images and a short film from the ‘Dear World’ Boston Marathon bombing online portrait series. The images depict the survivors returning to the finish line, reclaiming it as a place of hope.
“When we asked you to return to the finish line, a place that changed your lives, we knew it wouldn’t be easy,” said Fogarty, the project’s founder and photographer. “You told us some days are harder than others, but that it’s okay to have bad days.”
“What happened that day was terror. Terror happens when love is absent. Boston is a city of love stories now.””
“This is the first time that I was back at the finish line,” said double amputee and survivor Celeste Corcoran. “I had never been back and for me this was about reclaiming it. That finish line has been a negative space since the marathon. I chose to be there. I took back control.”
“I’m Celeste Corcoran from Lowell, Massachusetts. My message is “Still Standing.” I wrote still standing because the bombers hurt me—they took my legs—but I can still stand on them. I just love the play on the message. Writing it on my naked legs, seeing those words and having the prosthetics next to me. I’m still standing.”
“My name is Sydney Corcoran, I am 18 years old, and I live in Lowell, MA. My message was “You Can Scar Me, But You Cannot Stop Me.” I think that everyone has scars, and we should embrace them. I’ve learned that we can overcome the obstacles that gave those scars to us. It was really hard to think about coming back to the finish line. I would have anxiety and I would be nervous to come back. I would always find a reason not to return. Now, my first time coming back is doing it with Dear World. I don’t think it could have gone any better. I’m so glad my first experience back was with you guys, because it allowed me to take back this place in a happy way.”
“After the Marathon, I felt alone. I thought I would never be able to speak, acknowledge what had happened, or trust anyone again. I was more afraid than I have ever been in my life. Jay and Barrett, the two other men in the photograph, showed me how to write about that pain in the past tense. They have spent the last year by my side, teaching me how to laugh again, how to accept what happened and move forward from it, and most importantly, how to forgive.”
His name was Richard Martin
In memoriam of Martin Richard. June 9, 2004 – April 15, 2013. Pictured: Lee Ann Yanni, Marathon Survivor.
“Love this life” has been my motto since the bombing. I spent a lot of time prior to the bombing always seeking out the next thing in my career and putting the majority of my focus on finding the right career for myself and on school. I didn’t always take time to focus on those around me —my family and friends, the ones who I’d want to spend my last days with. Since the bombing, I’ve decided to spend each day as if it were my last. This to me means focusing on and acting more graciously to all of those around me. It also means spending as much time with friends and family as possible and viewing those I love as the center of my universe.
I’ve learned to not take any moment for granted, to never leave a loved one angry, and to always tell people how you feel about them because you never know if you’ll get another chance. I’ve also learned that there is more to life than I thought there was, but it is not in the way I thought. The ordinary parts of life are very fulfilling if we take the time to focus on them and cherish them.”
“When the first bomb exploded at last year’s Boston Marathon, David Fortier grabbed his ear drums. He had just reached mile 26.19. Fortier describes his hearing now as if you put your head next to a fluorescent light and kept it there. His doctors say that it may never go away. He says he feels lucky that his injuries weren’t more devastating and that he is running in this year’s race. “I had a great time for 26.19 miles,” he says. ‘Once everything gets put back together, he says, there will be a lot of people back. It’s become a huge part of our lives.'”
Lee Ann Yanni
“My name is Leanne Yanni, and I’m from Boston, Massachusetts. I wrote “Never Be Ashamed” on my leg because the one thing that was hardest for me to get over was how my leg was never going to look the same, and I’m learning to be more proud of it.
I read a quote, and it said “Never be ashamed of a scar. That it only means you are stronger than what tried to hurt you.” And it really resonated with me. I am strong, and this is just a little token.”
Global News received permission to republish the portraits and stories. See the full online series here.
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