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With a moment of silence honoring the victims and heroes of the Boston Marathon bombings broken by chants of “USA, USA, USA,” the graduating class of University of Massachusetts Dartmouth kicked off its commencement without shying away from the campus’s connection to one of the alleged bombers.
Reminders of the bombings were inescapable: blue and gold buttons that proclaimed “UMASS DARTMOUTH STRONG,” a beefed-up security presence, law enforcement officials with explosive-sniffing dogs patrolling campus, and a long security line to get into the tent where the ceremony was held.
But in other ways, the commencement where 1,369 students graduated was utterly normal: Parents clutched bouquets of flowers and graduation speeches urged students to take chances, spread peace and love in the world, and never stop learning.