A crowd of more than 1,000 people, many of them students of Boston-area colleges, marched to the Boston Common Friday night in a demonstration of pride after law enforcement officials subdued both suspects in Monday’s Boston Marathon bombing.
Dozens of people filled the Parkman Bandstand and hung American flags and banners reading “Believe in Boston.” Applause and cheers roared through the park in celebration of an end to a chaotic chapter in the Marathon bombings.
“There’s this feeling of collective joy and happiness,” said Kelley Gordon, a Massachusetts College of Art and Design student. “Everybody is smiling and happy and proud of who they are and where they’re coming from. I’ve never felt this kind of community.”
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was taken into custody Friday night and was hospitalized in serious condition after a nearly 24-hour span in which he and his older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev engaged police in a violent firefight with guns and explosives in Watertown. Tamerlan died Friday morning as a result of the shootout, and a manhunt ensued Friday for his brother.
While the throngs rallied in the Common, others consoled one another at a memorial at the corner of Boylston Street and Berkeley Street. The memorial had a more quiet tone as people placed flowers and notes to honor the victims.
The crowd in the Common, after chanting “we got him” and referring to Boston as “the greatest city in the world,” observed a moment of silence for the victims of the bombings and the violent clashes with the suspects.
More than 1,000 people surrounded the Bandstand, cheering and embracing each other in joy. A chorus of Fenway Park favorite “Sweet Caroline” broke out among the crowd.
Hundreds of Boston University students clad in Boston-themed clothing walked down Commonwealth Avenue from Kenmore Square to the Common, chanting, “We love Boston” and “U.S.A.” along the way.
“This is the craziest experience I’ve ever been a part of,” said Krysia St. Cry, a School of Hospitality Administration junior. “It started out with my friend and about 12 people, and now it’s as if half of the campus is out celebrating right now.”
As the crowd marched, residents leaned out of windows, joining in cheers and embracing in celebration.
At the corner of Commonwealth Avenue and Clarendon Street — near the finish line where Monday’s explosions occurred — the crowd stopped to cheer for the Boston Police Department officers stationed at the crime scene, chanting “BPD.”
Just outside the Public Garden on the corner of Commonwealth Avenue and Arlington Street, the crowd erupted in applause and cheers for the BPD officers outside the park.
Gordon said there has been overwhelming support for law enforcement officers in the wake of the attacks.
“They [police officers] were so composed the entire time,” she said. “… They dealt with the safety of everybody in the city in a great way, and they deserve the praise.”
Emerson College student Will Rosenthal, who wore an American flag around his shoulders, said the patriotic spirit of the crowd amazed him.
“It’s the epitome of the American spirit,” he said. “Everyone is out at the same time experiencing the same thing, and it’s all about democracy, freedom and what it means to be American.”
The second suspect was taken into custody at about 8:40 p.m. By 9:30 p.m., small crowds took to the streets in celebration, and by 10 p.m., the crowds grew and began to move toward the Common. As of 11:45 p.m., the Common was still filled with people.