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- The 2014 Big Picture on Cyber Security
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- Transformative Technology: Desktop Virtualization in Government
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- Value of Health IT
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- National Cybersecurity Awareness Month
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Shows & Panels
A year after bombing, Boston and its people heal
Saturday - 4/12/2014, 11:18am EDT
BOSTON (AP) -- Every time Roseann Sdoia comes home, she must climb 18 steps -- six stairs into the building, 12 more to her apartment. It is an old building in Boston's North End, with doors that are big and heavy, not an easy place for an amputee to live.
When she left the hospital, a month after the Boston Marathon bombing, she had a choice: She could find another place to live, one more suitable for someone who wears a prosthetic that replaces most of her right leg. Or, she could stay.
"Early on when all this happened, so many people were telling me to move out of the city and move out of my apartment because of the stairs and I don't have an elevator and parking is not very convenient," she recalls. "But I have been able to get past all of that."
In that, she mirrors Boston itself.
In the course of a year, limbs have been replaced, psyches soothed, the wounds sustained in a moment at the marathon's finish line have at least begun to heal. At the same time, a city shaken by an unthinkable act of terrorism has returned to its usual rhythms -- sadder, but some say stronger, as well.
"I have to tell you, honestly, Boston is a better city now than it was before," says Thomas Menino, who, as Boston's mayor, left a hospital bed where he was recovering from leg surgery to rally his city after the bombings. "People learned how to deal with each other, they had to deal with a tragedy."
Not that it's been easy. Three people were killed that day, and more than 260 were injured, and the legacy of trauma and lost limbs remains -- as does the shock of having endured a terrorist attack on Marathon Monday. Nor can Bostonians forget the fear that gripped a city locked down in the midst of a manhunt.
But Boston has been able to get past all of that. Copley Square is no longer littered with impromptu tributes to the dead and injured; they're now on display in an exhibit at the Boston Public Library, where Robert White of Lynn saw meaning in every teddy bear and pair of sneakers: "Every last one of the items says 'Boston Strong' or 'I will return next year.'"
The Red Sox -- who wore "Boston Strong" patches through their epic ride to the championship last year -- are playing ball again. "The city really came together after the Red Sox won the World Series," says Mary Ellen Cahill, of Canton. "It was such a moment of unity and togetherness ...
"We are unified, not terrified."
Roseann Sdoia is 46 years old, a vice president of property management for a Boston development company. She is a cheerful woman; she smiles broadly when she arrives at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Charlestown for physical therapy.
"It's just my nature," she says. "I'm not a negative person. I'm not a Debbie Downer."
Still, she says, she cries every day.
"What is sinking in is this is for life -- that it is how I have to live, how I have to walk. What is sinking in is that life has changed," she says, her face awash with tears.
Sdoia is a runner, but she did not take part in the marathon. She was at the finish line on April 15, rooting for friends in the race, when the second bomb went off. Aside from her leg injury, she suffered hearing loss. She was with four girlfriends; three of them lost hearing, and the fourth was unscathed.
"It was virtually they were on one side of the mailbox and I was on the other," she says. "So if I stood on the other side of the mailbox, I wouldn't have been injured. ... I was nosey. I wanted to see our friend Jen coming down the road first, so it's my own fault."
She goes to Charlestown twice a week for hour-long workouts with the physical therapist, and then she hops on the rowing machine to build her endurance. She aims to run again, a hobby she loved doing before her injury.
"Other than losing the bottom of my right leg, I'm still me," she says. "I haven't changed, I am still the same person I was before."
And yet, so much has changed. She had to take more leave from the job she loved. Winter, and snow, were tough to handle. She's had to learn how to tackle daily tasks differently.