Boston Marks 5 Years Since Marathon Bombing

Roseann Sdoia leaves Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston in May 2013 after losing part of her right leg in the explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
Charles Krupa/AP

Survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing are gathering Sunday for a solemn wreath laying ceremony marking five years since two bombs planted near the finish line killed three and injured hundreds more.

One of those attending the ceremony is Roseann Sdoia, who lost her right leg in the blast. It’s still sometimes hard, she says, to comprehend how her annual outing to watch the race on that sunny Spring day changed her life forever.

“I still wake up in the morning five years later and go ‘Oh my God, I don’t have a leg,'” she says. “Even though I live it every day, and every day I have to put this stupid [prosthetic leg] on and lug it around … I still have a really hard time thinking to myself what really happened.”

It’s one of the reasons she’s made it her business, literally, to spend her days talking about it. Retelling her story, she says, helps her get her head around what happened. She also hopes it encourages others who are facing their own challenges. “I want to be there showing people that you can come back to the other side again after having something tragic happen to you,” she says.

Walking into a recent speaking gig, Sdoia swings her prosthetic leg up the front steps, while lugging a box filled with dozens of copies of her recently published book.

“This is the tricky part,” she says, a little out of breath. Fiercely independent, she brushes off any offer of help.

“I guess it makes me feel normal,” she says. “It’s something that I would’ve done before, so anything that can kind of make me feel like I’m not handicapped…”

Inside, she takes the stage as the keynote speaker invited to address some 300 employees of a local bank. She begins by telling them about the many years she went to watch the marathon, first as a kid with her family, and then in recent years with her friends.

“The energy that is in the city of Boston is truly electric,” she gushes. “It really was my favorite day.”

She shows photos she took on “that gorgeous spring morning” watching the Red Sox at Fenway Park, before heading to the marathon to cheer on a friend who was about to cross the finish line.

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SOURCE: NPR, Tovia Smith