A year later:
Remembering the Boston Marathon bombing

In the year since the Boston Marathon bombing, archivists have preserved the pieces of an impromptu memorial that rose at the site, as people left shirts, signs, banners, toys and other things expressing grief for the victims, often adorned with the saying "Boston Strong."

The artifacts are on display in Copley Square through May 11.

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Slideshow: A makeshift memorial
  • Paul Marotta/Getty Images

    People left thousands of objects at an impromptu memorial in the days after the April 15, 2013 bombing. The three crosses from the previous picture are seen in this photo, taken 11 days after the incident. (Click to enlarge image)

  • Brian Snyder/Reuters

    A stuffed rabbit holding a flag reading, "We will finish the race." The toy is among the artifacts selected for an exhibit in Copley Square in Boston, which will run from April 7 to May 11. (Click to enlarge image)

  • Brian Snyder/Reuters

    Archivist Marta Crilly holds a signed banner from Bagram Air Base, one of dozens of such posters, seen piled on a shelf in the Iron Mountain storage facility. (Click to enlarge image)

  • Brian Snyder/Reuters

    The message on this worker's helmet read "God bless, once again . . . Good wins!" and is signed from a Boston labor union. (Click to enlarge image)

  • Brian Snyder/Reuters

    The vase, decorated with a satin bow, is another artifact saved from the makeshift memorial. (Click to enlarge image)

  • Brian Snyder/Reuters

    Archivist Marta Crilly holds a patch from the MIT police force, stored in a box with other patches and labels. (Click to enlarge image)

  • Brian Snyder/Reuters

    This T-shirt, with one sleeve torn and the other still threaded with a zip tie, will also be on display. (Click to enlarge image)

  • Brian Snyder/Reuters

    Thousands of runners' shoes — including these pictured — are stored with the other artifacts. (Click to enlarge image)

  • Brian Snyder/Reuters

    Dozens of running shoes have been gathered, cleaned and stored. (Click to enlarge image)

  • Brian Snyder/Reuters

    Crosses for Boston Marathon bombing victims Krystle Campbell, Lu Lingzi and Martin Richard are among the artifacts saved from the makeshift Boston Marathon bombing memorial that appeared in the wake of the bombing. Archivists in Boston have spent the last year processing thousands of sneakers, T-shirts and letters, all stored in a facility in Northborough, Mass. (Click to enlarge image)

12 seconds, 12 months

On April 15, 2013, two bombs went off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

Twelve seconds separated the first blast from the second. Al Jazeera asked some of the survivors who crossed the finish line during those 12 seconds how that moment changed their life in the past 12 months.

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Photos by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe/Getty Images

ONE YEAR AGO: At left, police officers react to the first explosion and hear the second blast. Runner Bill Iffrig, then 78, was knocked down near the finish line. At right, a man comforts an injured woman near the site of the first bomb. (Click to enlarge images)

I did feel at times a sense of almost depression, and a kind of anxiety. Just hearing loud sounds . . . even now makes me jump a little bit. I went through all kinds of emotions the first month afterwards.

For the greater part of the year, I was hypersensitive to the word "Boston," and my nerves would be on edge when sudden loud noises, crashing sounds or fireworks were anywhere near. I was brought to tears regularly trying to talk about it.

I don't mind talking about it, because I don't want to forget it. I don't want it to go away. I don't want it to fade.

In those 12 seconds, I went from a sense of elation in knowing that I was going to finish the marathon to a sense of, 'How do I save my life?'

I realized that life is short. I realized that I was in danger; that a lot of people were in danger.

I remember feeling that I should have known that people were hurt. . . I had a day where I just couldn't do anything but weep, and I was really traumatized and terribly distressed by the whole experience.

It really was that sort of experience where you don't hear the sounds. You don't really know what's going on. You just are doing what you think is the right thing.

How did you change?

How did the Boston Bombings change you in the last year?

The bombers took my legs, but everyone in Boston took care of me. They saved my life. They are the heroes, because they gave me an opportunity. They gave me the chance to prove that I — that we — are better than cowards with bombs. That we're not broken. And we're not afraid. We're stronger.