Still stunned and with tears streaming down their faces, the people of Boston rose to their feet in defiance yesterday as President Barack Obama promised to track down those responsible for the bombings at Tuesday's marathon.
Speaking from the pulpit of the city's 19th-century Cathedral of the Holy Cross, less than 2km from the scene of the atrocity which killed three and injured dozens, an emotional Obama was cheered as he spoke directly to the terrorists, telling them: "Yes, we will find you, and yes, you will face justice."
The 2000-strong congregation, some still proudly wearing their official yellow and blue Boston Marathon tops, stood and clapped, their applause echoing in a spontaneous outpouring of feeling as Obama described their home as "the greatest city of Earth" and "not just a place but a perfect state of grace".
He repeatedly used the metaphor of the marathon race to describe how Boston would "run again", ultimately triumphing over the "small, stunted individuals" who launched the attack.
Bostonians had begun queuing for the inter-faith service before dawn and lined up for 10 blocks in the city's South End neighbourhood.
Half the seats in the cathedral were reserved for victims' families, police and emergency services personnel.
In the pews several tough-looking men cried.
Obama told them: "From their [hospital] beds, some [victims] are surely watching us gather here today. And if you are, know this - as you begin this long journey of recovery, your city is with you.
"Your country is with you. We will all be with you as you learn to stand and walk and, yes, run again. Of that I have no doubt.
"You will run again. You will run again because that's what the people of Boston are made of."
He went on: "Your resolve is the greatest rebuke to whoever committed this heinous act.
"If they sought to intimidate us, to terrorise us, it should be pretty clear by now that they picked the wrong city to do it.
"Not here in Boston. You showed us, Boston, that in the face of evil, Americans will lift up what's good."
Obama, with his wife, Michelle, looking on, was close to tears as he paid tribute to the three people who died, saying: "Our hearts are broken."
Of victim Krystle Campbell, 29, he said: "She was beautiful, sometimes she could be a little noisy, and everybody loved her for it. As her mother said, through her tears, this doesn't make any sense."
He said the death of Lu Lingzi, 23, a Chinese student, reminded him of "the humanity that we all share".
The role of consoler-in-chief is becoming a familiar one for the President, who has spoken to victims of mass murders in Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009; Tucson, Arizona, in 2011; Aurora, Colorado, in 2011; and four months ago following the Sandy Hook school shooting in Connecticut.
Yesterday was Boston's unwelcome turn.
"Tomorrow the sun will rise over Boston," he said.
"Tomorrow the sun will rise over this country that we love, this special place, this state of grace."
- Telegraph Group Ltd