Political leaders encourage hope amid Boston tragedy

President Barack Obama gives his weekly address May 5 2012 Credit White House CNA US Catholic News 5 10 12 President Barack Obama. | White House.

In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, state and federal lawmakers are offering assistance and support to the people of Massachusetts, along with promises of continued prayers.

"I'm supremely confident that Bostonians will pull together, take care of each other, and move forward as one proud city," said U.S. President Barack Obama in an April 15 press conference. "And as they do, the American people will be with them every single step of the way."

The president promised that "we will find out who did this and we will hold them accountable."

On April 15, two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing at least three people and injuring more than 170. The annual marathon attracts some 20,000 participants and half a million spectators. It is held each year on April 15, which is Patriots' Day, a state holiday in Massachusetts that commemorates the beginning of the Revolutionary War.

In an additional press conference on the morning of April 16, Obama noted that the "FBI is investigating it as an act of terrorism," though authorities "do not know who carried it out, or why," nor whether the bombings were organized by an individual or an organization.

The president insisted that "the American people refuse to be terrorized," relaying stories of heroism and kindness by strangers and bystanders in the aftermath of the bombings.

According to CNN, U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden was on a conference call when he learned of the bombings. He interrupted the call to describe the explosions and say that "our prayers are with those people in Boston who have suffered injuries."

"Words cannot begin to express our sorrow for the families who are grieving so suddenly right now," said Speaker of the House John Boehner in a statement promising the prayers of the House of Representatives for victims of the blasts.  

"This is a terrible day for all Americans, but we will carry on in the American spirit, and come together with grace and strength," he continued.

Several political figures also spoke at a press conference in Boston on April 16. U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren offered her "thanks to the first responders, to the firefighters, to the police officers, to the EMS, to everyone on the scene, including the volunteers, who came and helped those in trouble and helped save lives."

"We are deeply grateful," she added.

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino also thanked first responders and volunteers, saying while "terror was brought to the city of Boston," the people also "know our heroes."

"Boston will overcome," Menino emphasized.

Governor Deval Patrick gave an update noting that no unexploded devices have been found by investigators and that the city will organize an interfaith prayer service to be held later this week. President Obama is expected to attend the prayer service.

Several U.S. Congressmen from the state also offered their support and prayers to those affected. 

Rep. Jim McGovern tweeted shortly after the explosions, "My thoughts and prayers are with all those at the #bostonmarathon."

Rep. Mike Capuano said in a press release that his "thoughts and prayers are with those who lost loved ones as a result of the explosions in Boston."

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"Please know that you are not alone in your sorrow," Capuano said. "I pray that those who suffered wounds recover fully and I thank our emergency personnel for their efforts today."

"Like so many others, I have many questions about the events today that cannot yet be answered. However, I do know that we will stand together during this difficult time," he added.

Freshman congressman Joe Kennedy III said he was "heartbroken by the news" and promised that he and his wife will "continue to pray for everyone back home as this terrible tragedy unfolds."

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