By KEN POWTAK, Associated Press
BOSTON (AP) _ The Boston Red Sox held an emotional 20-minute pregame ceremony honoring victims of the Boston Marathon bombings along with law enforcement officials, medical personnel, runners and race volunteers before Sunday night’s game against the Baltimore Orioles.
With canvasses of handwritten notes from each of the 50 states being held on the outfield warning track from the left field corner in front of the Green Monster around to the Pesky Pole, a number of victims came walking in from the left-field corner to a loud ovation.
Just over a year ago, two bombs exploded near the finish line _ less than a mile from Fenway Park, killing three and injuring over 260 others. It happened about an hour after Boston had defeated Tampa Bay.
The family of Lu Lingzi, a Boston University graduate student from China that was killed in the bombings, made their first ever visit to Fenway Park and closed the ceremony with the traditional “Play Ball!” chant before the Red Sox took the field.
Before the victims entered, police and medical personnel came from canvas alley along the right-field line before runners came in from center field and race volunteers also came straight in from the outfield. They all lined up in the outfield grass near the University of Massachusetts band that played the national anthem.
Jim Gallagher, the president of the One Fund, a fund created to help victims and their families, threw out the ceremonial first pitch to David Ortiz. Former Boston Mayor Tom Menino, current Mayor Marty Walsh and Gov. Deval Patrick were behind the pitcher’s mound.
There was a video tribute of the race and victims played with the backdrop music of Bruce Springsteen’s “The Rising.”
The ceremony was held exactly one year after the Red Sox played their first game in Fenway following the bombings. (See more pictures from Fenway)
Before that game, Ortiz had a stirring moment when he spoke to the crowd and had a rousing speech that included an expletive.
The 118th Boston Marathon is scheduled for Monday and the Red Sox play their annual 11 a.m. Patriots’ Day game, also against the Orioles.
On Friday, Ortiz said during a press conference that he’d like to visit the finish line.
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