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Tragedy, twice: Newtown families seated near blast

  • Victims' families seated in VIP area at the finish line
  • Marathon's 26th mile was dedicated to Newtown victims
  • Sandy Hook banner seen flying above bombing chaos
Tragedy, twice: Newtown families seated near blast

The families of several victims of the Newtown school shooting were seated in the Boston Marathon's VIP area Monday, right near the finish line where one of the explosions occurred. The families were attending the race as honorary guests.

All members of the Sandy Hook delegation are accounted for and none were injured, according to CNN.

The race's 26th and final mile, on which both explosions occurred, was dedicated before the marathon to the Sandy Hook victims. There were 26 victims in the December school shooting.

There was a strong Newtown connection throughout the race, as 26 seconds of silence were observed before it began and a group of runners from Newtown participated in the marathon and assigned additional meaning to the event. "In the first 20 miles we’re honoring our 20 Sandy Hook first-graders, and when we crest Heartbreak Hill and we’re coming back towards Boston, we run the final six for our six fallen educators who gave everything of themselves, including their lives, to protect our children," said Laura Nowacki, whose fourth-grade daughter attends Sandy Hook Elementary.

The 26th mile marker included a special logo to honor the Newtown victims. It flew at the finish line and is visible in many images of Monday's tragedy, flying above the smoke and debris.

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