USMagazine, Thursday, April 18, 2013, 7:30am (PDT)
The National Anthem never sounded so good. Just two days after explosions rattled Boston and the nation at the Boston Marathon finish line on Monday, April 15, the city's sports fans joined together in an emotional show of solidarity with a stirring rendition of the "Star-Spangled Banner."
On Wednesday, April 17, black-and-yellow-clad Boston Bruins fans and their Buffalo Sabres rivals shared a somber moment together prior to the start of the game inside the city's TD Garden. The East Coast face-off marked the first major sporting event since Monday's bombings.
In a video that aired on NBC, veteran Boston Garden troubadour Rene Rancourt took his position on the ice to begin the National Anthem, but it wasn't long before the arena filled with the voices of thousands of fans singing along, giving the tried-and-true words new meaning in light of the week's tragedy.
Rancourt was joined in the rink by the Boston Fire Department Honor Guard, who looked equally emotional as they led the crowd in song.
"Being out here today, the energy from the crowd, it's as though your tears turn into joy," Boston firefighter David Blaides, commander of the guard, later told ESPN. "It was fulfilling being out there today."
The crowd at TD Garden finished off the song with loud cheers and a chant: "U.S.A! U.S.A!" before the first puck was dropped.
Prior to the National Anthem, the pre-show also featured a "Boston Strong" video honoring the city's first responders, showing scenes from the marathon and ending with the phrase: "We are Boston, We are Strong."
Both teams wore "Boston Strong" decals on their helmets, and shared a moment together on the ice after Boston lost the game 3-2.
On Monday, more than 170 runners and supporters of the historic sporting event were injured, and three killed, in twin explosions at the marathon finish line. But in light of the tragedy, Bruins coach Claude Julien told the Associated Press that it was more important than ever to press on with the game.
"You're trying to live your life in peace, and there's people trying to disrupt that," he told the AP earlier in the day. "The people trying to live their life in peace are going to live together."