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Red Sox Give Moving Pregame Tribute to Marathon Victims, Survivors, First Responders

By Maureen Mullen, Boston.com Correspondent

The Red Sox presented a moving tribute before Sunday night’s game against the Orioles honoring the victims and paying tribute the survivors and first responders of last year’s Boston Marathon bombings and recognizing Marathon runners.

On the eve before tomorrow’s 118th running of the Boston Marathon, the ceremony included a remembrance of Krystle Campbell, Martin Richard, Lingzi Lu, and Officer Sean Collier who were killed last year.

As a giant American flag was unfurled covering the left field wall, the warning track was lined with colorful banners and canvases from all 50 states, from around the world, from every major league team, and members of Congress expressing support for those affected by the tragedy.

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As the University of Massachusetts marching Band and the Boston Pipers Society performed “Highland Cathedral” in center field, survivors and first responders streamed onto Fenway Park’s lawn from center field and left field. A contingent of State Police, Boston and Watertown filed into right field.

With the Red Sox standing along the first base line and the Orioles on the third base line, the UMass band also performed the national anthem.

Jim Gallagher, the president of The One Fund, which raised nearly $61 million in just the first 75 days after the tragedy to assist the victims, threw out the ceremonial first pitch to David Ortiz as Governor Deval Patrick, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, and former Mayor Tom Menino looked on from behind the mound.

The family of Lingzi Lu, who had traveled to Boston from their native China to be part of this week’s memorials, gathered behind the plate to get the game started with the traditional call of “Play Ball.”

Earlier this week, Orioles manager Buck Showalter was asked what it would mean to play in the traditional Monday morning Patriots’ Day game and be part of the memorials.

“I think this year, especially with what that day means to our country, to Boston, and to everybody in particular, I think it’s an honor to be there for that,” Showalter told CSNBaltimore.com. “I really do. Regardless of the competitive part of it. We are both doing the same thing.

"For what that day represents to Boston, and all our country, I consider it, we all consider it, an honor to be lucky enough to have the schedule fall that way. I think we are all looking forward to paying the respect due there."

Before the ceremony Red Sox manager John Farrell reflected upon the tragedy and what the anniversary has meant to his team.

“There’s certainly a recognition of what this weekend represents in Boston and what we experienced a year ago,” Farrell said. “I think the overriding this is that we all feel a greater sense of pride having been part of a community that rallied around a tragic event, and on some small level we were part of the healing process.

“Hopefully tomorrow’s anniversary – not by date but by event – is another day healing for those who have been a victim.”