Associated Files
Title
WBUR Oral History Project: Kevin Brown
Title
WBUR Oral History Project: Kevin Brown. Clip 1
Contributor
Brown, Kevin (Interviewee)
Guberman, Jayne (Interviewer)
Girdharry, Kristi (Recordist)
McDonough, Ryan (Contributor)
Language
English
Date created
October 29, 2013
Type of resource
Sound recording
Genre
Interviews
Oral histories (document genres)
Format
Sound Recording
Digital origin
born digital
Abstract/Description
Countless lives were affected by the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings and their aftermath. The WBUR Oral History Project collects stories from individuals whose lives were immediately and irrevocably changed by these events. Thanks to the generous sponsorship of WBUR, our team of oral historians, and the participation of these interview subjects, Our Marathon has tried to ensure that these stories are not forgotten. We believe that these stories matter, and that they demonstrate the ways historical events transform the lives of the people who lived through them. Oral historians Jayne K. Guberman, Ph.D., and Joanna Shea O'Brien conducted the interviews for this project. Oral History Project Manager Kristi Girdharry, Our Marathon Project Co-Director Jim McGrath, and Community Outreach Lead Joanne DeCaro recorded the interviews and provided research assistance and post-interview processing. McGrath and Our Marathon Audio Technician Ryan McDonough provided sound editing and processing for all of the interviews and clips. The opinions and statements expressed in interviews and related content featured in the WBUR Oral History Project do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Our Marathon, WBUR, Northeastern University, or any employees or volunteers affiliated with these institutions and projects. Our Marathon and The WBUR Oral History project make no assertions about the veracity of statements made by participants in this project. Kevin Brown, a carpenter from Brockton, Massachusetts, describes in this interview how he became the unofficial keeper of the public memorial on Copley Square for the Boston Marathon bombings. Although he was not at the marathon this year, he saw what happened on TV and immediately felt he had to get there. With his family, he attended the church service at which President Obama spoke, and from there went to visit a couple of small memorials that had popped up. By the time the memorial moved to Copley Square, Kevin was committed to caring for it. Kevin describes the memorial in detail, including the centerpiece where the white, wooden crosses for each of the victims stood. A skilled carpenter, he relates making a cross for Sean Collier, the MIT police officer who was killed by the bombers, and carrying it on a train from Brockton to the memorial site. He also describes the many ways in which the memorial became a sacred space and place of healing. At certain times of day, such as the evening candle lighting, people would spontaneously start to sing, both patriotic songs such as "America the Beautiful" as well as church songs. He enumerates the many types of items that people contributed to the memorial and explains the importance visitors attached to signing an item - a paper plaque, colored paper chains, t-shirts, and running shoes. Kevin talks about visitors to the site, including "regulars" such as runners who had been unable to finish the race because of the bombings, a group of nurses who could only bring themselves to come after a month had passed, the father of slain officer Sean Collier, the sister of Lingzi Lu, who came from China, as well as public figures such as Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Biden (who left a pair of her running shoes), Governor Patrick, and Mayor Menino. At the end of the interview, he describes the day on which the memorial was dismantled and taken to the city archives. He recalls that the mayor, early on, referred to the growing collection as a "make-shift memorial." He explains how he said, "No, it's the people's memorial" - and that name has stuck. In this clip, Kevin describes traveling by bike, bus, and train to get to the Copley Square Memorial every day.
Notes
The opinions and statements expressed in interviews and related content featured in the WBUR Oral History Project do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Our Marathon, WBUR, Northeastern University, or any employees or volunteers affiliated with these institutions and projects. Our Marathon and The WBUR Oral History project make no assertions about the veracity of statements made by participants in this project.
Source note
The WBUR Oral History Project. Kevin Brown (Oral History), Jayne Guberman (Oral Historian), Kristi Girdharry (Recorder), Ryan McDonough (Sound Processing and Editing)
Related item
Our Marathon: The Boston Bombing Digital Archive
Subjects and keywords
Boston Marathon Bombing, Boston, Mass., 2013
Permanent URL
Use and reproduction
Permission must be obtained to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use." Requests for permission to publish quotations should be addressed to Our Marathon (marathon@neu.edu) and should include identification of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated use of the passages, and identification of the user. Commercial use of content is prohibited. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

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