Eight-year-old Martin Richard was a happy and polite child, always smiling and willing to jump in when his parents or teachers sought his help for a community gathering: cleaning trash out of a neighborhood park, decorating a parade float or heading to a peace rally.
At a recent school peace parade, a beaming Martin held up a banner on which he’d written: “No more hurting people.”
On Tuesday night, his family, friends and neighbors gathered at their Dorchester church to grapple with their collective hurt at the third-grader’s death in the bombings in central Boston. He was killed when one of two explosive devices detonated just steps from where his parents had brought him and his siblings to cheer on racers in the Boston Marathon.
“He was so polite, composed, older than his years really,” neighbor and family friend Christina Keefe said of Martin on Tuesday. “I can see him now, holding his mom’s arm as she took them on their walks around the neighborhood. . . . The neighborhood is reeling.”