PHOTOS: Mourners Flock to Bombing Site

A Buddhist monk prays at the makeshift memorial site outside the Boston Marathon bombing crime scene on Wednesday, April 17, 2013.

Some came bearing presents: Red Sox T shirts, handmade cards and signs, flowers—even their hard-earned Boston Marathon medals.

Some came to watch as FBI crime scene investigators continued to sweep the area around Copley Square for clues in Monday’s bombing.

Others came to take pictures, to talk, to listen, to stand in silence and take it all in.

Natalie Rincon and Mary Light came to give hugs.

Rincon, a Brighton resident, and Light, an Ashland resident, stood outside the blocked off area of Copley Square on Wednesday afternoon holding up bright pink and yellow signs reading “Free Hugs/Abrazos Gratis, 9/15/13.”

Many people smiled at them, and a few even took them up on their offer.

“We both work in this building [on Boylston Street], and our company’s very hug central—there’s a lot of hugging every day. We thought it’d be our little bit to bring back to Boston,” Rincon said. “It was a very eerie walk to work this morning. Everybody was very quiet. And we thought it would be something nice to cheer people up.”

Rincon and Light had the day off from the office Monday during the Boston Marathon, but Rincon was working a second job at a restaurant on Newbury Street—right behind the scene of the second explosion.

“There was lots of chaos,” she said.

Boston resident Brenda Gailhouse said she wanted to come to the makeshift memorial to see what was happening and to get a sense of the feeling in the neighborhood.

“We used to live here for a long time. You want to feel connected to it somehow, I guess,” she said.

The mood she experienced at the site was one of mixed emotions.

“You see a lot of different feelings from people. You see people crying, you see people talking about what happened. It’s almost a way to process the whole thing,” she said.

Back Bay resident Roberta Orlandino called the mood “very somber.”

“This is my neighborhood, really. I grew up in Boston and it’s very sad to see that something like this could happen. It’s sad for the world, it’s sad for Boston and the marathon and the runners and the professional athletes,” she said.

South End Patch