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Obama attends interfaith memorial service for Boston Marathon victims

U.S. president Barack Obama and his wife Michelle attend the interfaith healing service at Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston on Thursday. GETTY IMAGES/Spencer Platt

President Barack Obama attended an interfaith memorial service in Boston on Thursday for victims of the Boston Marathon bombing amid a manhunt for a suspect seen on video taken before two blasts struck near the finish line on Monday.

“Scripture tell us to run with endurance the race that is set before us,” Obama said at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.

“To run with endurance the race that is set before us,” he repeated.

“A poet once wrote that this town is not just a capital, not just a place, Boston, he said, is the perfect state of grace. And then, in an instant, the day’s beauty was shattered, the celebration became a tragedy.

“And so we come together to pray and mourn and measure our loss. But we also come together today to reclaim that state of grace. To reaffirm that the spirit of this city is undaunted and the spirit of this country shall remain undimmed.”

In ending his speech, Obama said the marathon would continue: “This time next year, on the third Monday in April, the world will return to this great American city, to run harder than ever and to cheer even louder for the 118th Boston Marathon. Bet on it.”

Local officials, including Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Boston mayor Thomas Menino, as well as faith leaders from across the spectrum, also spoke at the service.

“Nothing can defeat the heart of the city. Nothing can take us down because we take care of one another,” Menino said during the service.

United Minister Nancy Taylor then spoke, praising those who ran towards the wounded and gave comfort, whether it was by wrapping people who were shivering in their own clothes or offering up their homes.

“We are shaken but we are not forsaken. Another’s hate will not make of us haters,” Taylor said.

Former governors Mitt Romney, William Weld, Michael Dukakis, and Jane Swift also attended the service but did not speak.

No arrests have yet been made in the investigation. The blasts killed three people and wounded 176 in the worst attack on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001.

Patrick, Police Commissioner Ed Davis and Congressman Ed Markey met Obama and first lady Michelle Obama on the tarmac of Boston Logan  International Airport as he stepped off Air Force One.

Obama was due to meet families of victims of the bombing and first responders while in Boston, a White House spokesman told reporters aboard Air Force One.

With files from CityNews.ca staff