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Walkers in Franklin Unite for Boston

At the same time authorities in Massachusetts captured the second suspect in Boston Marathon bombings, several hundred people in downtown Franklin walked in memory of those killed and injured in Monday’s blast.

“I just felt the need to do something,” organizer Molly Brown-Boulay told the crowd prior to the "Unite for Boston" walk. “We are Americans, and we’ve been attacked.”

Sam Boyd, who ran in this year’s Boston Marathon, told the crowd that the first blast sounded like a cannon.

“When we heard the second one, I said, something has happened bad,” said Boyd, who serves as senior pastor at Forest Hills Baptist Church. “I know that Satan is behind this; it’s a war between evil and good.”

The president of the Nashville Striders running club said his group helped organize to honor the victims of the bombings that occurred earlier this week at the Boston Marathon.

“A good number of our members ran [the Boston Marathon] this year,” Peter Pressman, president of the Nashville Striders said earlier in the day. “A dozen or so weren’t able to finish [due to the bombings]. They were diverted off the course once the bombs occurred.”

Dove award-winning artist Matthew West led the crowd in singing the National Anthem before the group made its way from Franklin’s town square, down East Main Street, and across the pedestrian bridge into Pinkerton Park and back, completing a 2.5-mile loop. Walkers donned warm clothes and reflective gear as temperatures dropped into the lower 50s as the walk began shortly before sunset. Organizers provided participants glow-sticks to serve as chemically fueled safety devices as well as makeshift vigil candles.

The walk came together quickly. The first bomb detonated around 1:50 p.m., central time. Over the next four days, a handful of people conceptualized the Solidarity Walk, coordinated with the city to close the streets, arranged for security, and launched what is largely a grassroots public-relations campaign. Whether the social-media campaign instigated the word-of-mouth buzz or vice versa is unclear.

“We’ve had a lot of feedback on the Facebook page, and a lot of word of mouth,” Pressman said.

Posted on: 4/19/2013


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