'Everyone has been touched by the attack on your beloved city': Barack Obama resumes role as consoler-in-chief as he honours Boston bombing victims at city's Cathedral of the Holy Cross

 

President Barack Obama told mourners in Boston today that everyone had been touched by the attack on their beloved city.

Speaking at an interfaith memorial service, Mr Obama declared "there is a piece of Boston in me" and said a day of beauty was shattered when a celebration became a tragedy.

The President said Boston gathered "to reaffirm that the spirit of this city is undaunted" and promised: "You will run again!"

His remarks at the service came amid a manhunt for at least two men seen on video taken before two blasts struck near the finish line on Monday, killing three and wounding 176 in a crowd of tens of thousands.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano confirmed today that the FBI was searching for people seen on a video taken near the finish line.

Of the perpatrator, Mr Obama said: "We will find you."

Dozens of uniformed police officers in bright yellow vests formed a security line around the church. City officials used buses to block access to nearby cross streets.

"There is some video that has raised the question of those that the FBI would like to speak with," Napolitano said in Congressional testimony today. "I wouldn't characterize them as suspects under the technical term. But we do need the public's help in locating these individuals."

Boston Mayor Tom Menino, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Cardinal Sean O'Malley were also scheduled to speak at the service.

Menino was one of the first to speak.

"This is Boston, a city with courage, compassion and strength that knows no bounds," said Menino, who was rolled to the podium in a wheelchair but stood for his remarks despite breaking a leg over the weekend. "We love the brave ones who felt the blast and still raced through the smoke with ringing in his ears ... to answer cries of those in need."

Obama was also due to meet families of victims of the bombing and first responders while in Boston, a White House spokesman told reporters aboard Air Force One.

The service comes the day after the FBI arrested a Mississippi man in connection with letters believed to have contained the deadly poison ricin and sent to federal officials, including Obama. In a separate incident yesterday, an explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant killed as many as 15 people.

The FBI said there was no indication of a connection between the ricin letters and the Boston bomb attacks, but they reminded Americans of anthrax mail attacks in the wake of the September 11 suicide hijackings 12 years ago.

Earlier, hundreds of people crowded outside the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston's South End, about a mile  from the bombing site.

"President Obama knows how important the city of Boston is to the nation and the world," said 55-year-old John Snyder, who had joined the line before sunrise. "He is bringing his light to us for much-needed healing."

Investigators believe the Boston bombs were fashioned out of pressure cookers and packed with shrapnel. Ten victims lost limbs, and emergency room doctors reported plucking nails and ball bearing from the wounded.

Police had considered making an appeal to the public for more information at a news conference yesterday, a US government source said, but the FBI cancelled it after a number of delays.

Boston Police and FBI officials said today that they had not determined whether they would publicly release more details of the investigation.

The bombs in Boston killed an 8-year-old boy, Martin Richard; a 29-year-old woman, Krystle Campbell; and a Boston University graduate student and Chinese citizen, Lu Lingzi.

Ahead of his visit, Obama declared a state of emergency in Massachusetts, a move that makes federal funding available to the state as it copes with the aftermath of the bombing.

The crowded scene along the race course in central Boston on Monday was recorded by surveillance cameras and media outlets, providing investigators with significant video footage of the area before and after the two blasts.

Based on the shards of metal, fabric, wires and a battery recovered at the scene, the focus turned to whoever may have placed homemade bombs in pressure cooker pots and taken them in heavy black nylon bags to the finish line of the world-famous race.

Tens of thousands of people turn out to watch and run in the marathon, which comes on a state holiday and is one of New England's best-attended sporting events.

Reuters

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Life and Style
tech
News
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
film
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
News
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £60,000

£25000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Care Workers Required - The London Borough of Bromley

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This homecare agency is based in Beckenh...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas