Obama offers comfort to stricken Boston: ‘You will run again!’

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BOSTON (PIX11) — President Barack Obama traveled to Boston on Thursday, three days after the bombings at the famed marathon to reassure the city and the nation that their spirit remains strong.

“Everyone of us stands with you,” the president said at an interfaith service inside the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. “Boston may be your hometown — but we claim it, too.

“Boston, you’re my home,” Obama said. “For millions of us what happened on Monday is personal.”

He added, “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.”

Other dignitaries attending the service included the first lady Michelle Obama; the president’s former election rival, Mitt Romney; Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick; and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. During an interlude, attendees were soothed by a performance by famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma. About 2,000 people filled the ornate cathedral, The Boston Globe reported, with about half the seats reserved for the public.

Under heavy security, the audience also included scores of police officers and other first responders. Later, Obama was to meet with families of victims and first responders to the bombings, administration spokesman Josh Earnest said.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes, investigators were combing through surveillance video dating to at least a week before the bombings to try to identify anyone who walked the finish-line route before the race, said a source who receives regular updates on the investigation. Authorities were working around-the-clock work to identify two men that a law enforcement source told CNN are pictured in images captured before the blast — not far from the race’s finish line, one of them lugging a black backpack.

It was in such a backpack that investigators believe the bomber or bombers placed explosive devices that killed three and wounded more than 180 Monday toward the end of the Boston Marathon.

“Every hour we’re closer,” Patrick told CNN’s “Situation Room” on Wednesday. “And I say that because we’ve got the very best professionals at every level working this. And working it hard.”

At Thursday’s service, Boston’s mayor praised each of the three bystanders who were killed in the blasts — Martin Richard, described as a “young boy with a big heart”; Krystle Campbell, whose spirit “brought her to the marathon year after year”; and Lingzu Lu, who “came to the city in search of an education.”