But this city's brave, charitable and tolerant spirit so soon after the attack is an extraordinary example for all. There is mourning here, but little
sense of fear. There is anger, but a realization that terrorism is a reality for communities worldwide. And there is a determination to not allow attacks
on civilians to paralyze or divide this city.
"You can't blame everybody for a few radical lunatics with hatred in their hearts," said Neil Tanger, a 65-year-old longtime Boston Marathon volunteer, who
choked back tears when visiting the bombing site Thursday night. "Most of the people who come here come for the opportunity."
Tanger, filled with pride in the city and its people, said the examples of his immigrant grandfather and his father, a World War Two veteran, inspired his
"We have what we have here because of their commitment to the American dream," he said. "We're not going to give that up because of a few lunatics. We're
going to continue to be strong."
On Thursday, this modest-sized but global city was back. On a glorious spring afternoon in the Boston Public Gardens, parents showed toddlers the duck
statues made famous by the children's classic Make Way for Ducklings. Nearby, blooming magnolia trees and expectant college students filled
Commonwealth Avenue. And at night, the streets around Fenway Park grew electric as the Red Sox battled the Houston Astros.
Khaled Lottfi, a 47-year-old Moroccan-American taxi driver and 25-year Boston resident, is on a one-man mission to explain his faith. Lottfi, who is
Muslim, prayed in the days after the attacks that the perpetrators would not be Muslim.
After the surviving brother reportedly told investigators that they carried out the attacks to defend Islam, Lottfi started impromptu conversations about
his faith with passengers in his taxi who seemed friendly.
"I tell them I'm Muslim and I can't understand it either," Lottfi said. "And they say, 'Wow,' and then they ask questions."
Lottfi, who had lived in France but said he felt more tolerance for religious freedom in the United States, said the response from passengers has been
overwhelmingly positive. He said he was doing "my little part" to ease fear in the city.
"They need to hear from a Muslim that I don't condone this thing," he said.
These are early days, of course. Flashes of anger do emerge. The day before images of the Tsarnaevs were released, an unidentified man assaulted a female
Syrian doctor wearing a headscarf as she walked her 9-month-old daughter to day care in the Boston suburb of Malden.
"He said, '(Expletive) you. (Expletive) you, Muslims, You are terrorists, you are the ones who made the Boston explosion,' " Hebad Abolaban
told the Boston Globe
. "I was really, really completely shocked. I didn't know what to do. Then I realized what happened. I was crying and crying."