(WASHINGTON) — Secretary of State John Kerry testified in Washington Thursday before the Senate Foreign Relations and Appropriations Committees about next year’s State Department budget.
But it was clear that the Boston Marathon attack was first and foremost on his mind. Similar to his emotional remarks on Wednesday in front of the House committees, the former senator from Massachusetts began his prepared testimony reflecting on his home state and the people of Boston.
“It is no secret that my heart and my head are in Boston today with the president, with the families, with a lot of friends. There is a memorial service there, and I’m grateful to the president for going up there. I wish I could be there with him, but I need to be here and I understand that and I respect the needs to continue,” Kerry told the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday morning.
He praised the president’s speech in his testimony before the appropriations committee on Thursday afternoon.
“I thought he was magnificent, gave a great, great speech, touched the hearts of everybody and captured Boston,” said Kerry.
Kerry spoke of how watching all the images of the explosion personally affected him, and he said the kindness that followed the terrorist act showed the best of America and of humanity.
“I watched, as everybody did, the graphic video of the explosions, and what struck me, frankly, was just the way volunteers of the marathon rushed towards the blast, and the way we learned later runners went to the hospital to give blood and people opened their homes to receive strangers,” he said. “What really struck me was the place where the first explosion took place, you see all those flags, all the international flags and you realize, wow, it was just so much bigger than Boston.”
He also showed appreciation for the role sports teams have played in bringing America together during this crisis.
“There are these moments that leap out at you, like last night at the Bruins game where the entire crowd broke into the ‘Star-Spangled Banner,’ and it just reverberated. It was wonderful. At the end, there was a sign that said, ‘We are Boston Strong,’ and I think that’s very true,” said Kerry, who also thanked the New York Yankees for posting the Boston Red Sox logo and singing “Sweet Caroline” at their game on Wednesday evening. Kerry jokingly said the gesture was “pretty special given the relationship between the Evil Empire and Boston Red Sox.”
The secretary also remarked on the global nature of the attack, expressing his condolences for the families of the victims who were killed and singling out the death of Lingzi Lu, the Boston University graduate student from China, a country Kerry just visited a few days ago.
“We lost a citizen of another country, a young Chinese girl studying in Boston, a graduate student, who went there with her friends to watch the marathon and take part in this fabulous Patriots’ Day rite that if nobody’s ever experienced it…they’ll be back, and there will be a bigger, better one next year,” said Kerry, defiantly. “And we’ll celebrate that spirit.”
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