Adding further heartbreak to utter tragedy, the last mile of Monday’s Boston Marathon, which was rocked by at least two explosions resulting in an unknown number of injuries and casualties Monday afternoon, was dedicated to the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting massacre. Boston Athletic Association president Joanne Flaminio said before the race that had a “special significance” because it was 26.2 miles long and there was 26 victims in the Newtown attack. There was also a group of Newtown parents running as part of a group called Team Newtown Strong who were raising money for local charities. A banner honoring the victims, hung at the end of the 26th mile, can be seen in the photo above.
“In the first twenty miles we’re honoring the twenty Sandy Hook first graders,” Laura Nowacki, a spokesperson for Newtown Strong, explained to WBUR Boston. “When we crest Heartbreak Hill, and we’re coming back towards Boston, we run the final six for our six fallen educators, including their lives, to protect our children.”
There was a 26-second moment of silence for the victims before the race started.
Update 4:07 p.m.: Newtown families were reportedly seated in the VIP section right by where the explosions went off. There’s no word whether they are among the 23 injured and two dead from the explosions.