In a defiant and poignant speech during an interfaith service honoring the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings, President Barack Obama delivered a love-letter to the city and promised justice for the perpetrators.
"We also come together today to reclaim that state of grace, to reaffirm that the spirit of this city is undaunted and the spirit of this country will remain undimmed," Obama said. "Every one of us has been touched by this attack on your beloved city. Every one of us stands with you. Because after all, it's our beloved city, too. Boston may be your hometown, but we claim it too."
Obama noted his claim on the city, having attended Harvard University across the Charles River in Cambridge and that it was at the Boston-hosted Democratic National Convention that he delivered a speech in 2004 as a state senator that catapulted him into the national spotlight.
"It's personal," he said of the bombings.
To the families of the three slain, Obama offered comfort and memories – but his most powerful comments came in speaking to the victims still recovering and to the city's residents.
"As you begin this long journey of recovery, your city is with you, your commonwealth is with you, your country is with you, we will all be with you as you learn to stand and walk and yes run again, of that I have no doubt; you will run again," he said. "Your resolve is the greatest rebuke to whoever committed this heinous act. If they sought to intimidate us, to terrorize us, to shake us from those values that [Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick] described, the values that make us who we are as Americans, well it should be pretty clear by now that they picked the wrong city to do it. Not here in Boston."
Despite the memorial-type setting, Obama was clearly pointed and sharp in his comments, describing those responsible for the bombs that injured more than 170 people at the iconic race's finish line as "small, stunted individuals."
"Yes we will find you. Yes you will face justice. We will find you, we will hold you accountable, but more than that, our fidelity to our way of life, to our free and open society, will only grow stronger," he said. "For God has not given us the spirit of fear and timidity, but one of power and love and self-discipline."
And in a nod to the city's love of sport, Obama offered a vow that brought the crowd to its feet.
"When the Sox and Celtics and Patriots or Bruins are champions again to the chagrin of New York and Chicago fans, the crowds will gather and watch a parade go down Boylston Street and this time next year on the third Monday in April, the world will return to this great American city to run harder than ever and to cheer even louder for the 118th Boston Marathon," he said. "Bet on it."
Law enforcement officials said Wednesday they had made strides in identifying potential suspects but still have not made public any details about who was behind the Monday attack.