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Mourning Boston bustles back to life

People visit a make-shift memorial on Boylston Street,

People visit a make-shift memorial on Boylston Street, near the scene of the Boston Marathon explosions as people get back to the normal life. (April 20, 2013) Credit: Getty Images

Boston crept back to normal Sunday.

Traffic tangled. People jogged. A homeless man panhandled outside a Dunkin' Donuts. Tourists went to see the sights in this historic city.

But a painful and cathartic reminder of the Boston Marathon bombings remained -- a growing street memorial to the victims.

At the corner of Berkeley and the still-closed Boylston streets in downtown Copley Square, hundreds of people visited Sunday to mourn, to reflect and to pay respects to the four killed and 172 injured in last week's bombings. Most reflected quietly, leaving flowers and homemade signs and taking pictures; one woman cried softly while a male companion rubbed her back.

Flowers and teddy bears lay on the ground. American flags adorned the metal police gates blocking the street, where pairs of running sneakers were left in tribute.

When a police officer stationed at the site began blowing a whistle in rapid succession at a passing motorist, many in the instantly jerked their heads in attention, an indication of some lingering jitters.

Many said they were grieving, but ready to return to normal.

Janet Bailey, a resident of Boston's Jamaica Plain neighborhood, came downtown to go to the gym, but stopped by the memorial first.

Bailey, an adjunct art teacher at Boston University, said one of her former students was injured in the attack and is still in the hospital, and it feels like almost everyone in the city has been touched personally by the tragedy.

"Everybody here is taking it personally," said Bailey, 63. "You want to get back to normal. You don't want to let this define you as a community."

Jen Roy brought her three young children to the memorial. They had colored an American flag poster, with tributes to the four killed in the place of stars.

Her son, Jack Doucette, 8, "put the baseball on there for Martin because he was going to start Little League and Jack started Little League yesterday," said Roy, of Natick.

Sal Barbagallo, 42, of Georgetown, similarly brought his children -- Lilah, 9 and Braedon, 4 -- who drew pictures with messages like "We love Boston" and "Boston is strong."

He said the trio planned to get lunch afterward and explore the city on foot.

"They caught them," he said. "We need to be as normal as we can. I know the world is crazy, but we need to move on. We need to move on."

Lisi Zhu, a tourist from Beijing, snapped pictures and said she was moved by the spirit of Bostonians and the enormity of the memorial.

"I just want to be here with the Boston people," said Zhu, 27, a doctoral biology student in town for a work conference.

Harold Williams, 29k a tourist in town from Fort Myers, Fla. was overcome by emotion at the memorial, his eyes watering. "It's overwhelming," he said.

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