Since January, Nancy Marche has been sorting and sifting through the memorials that were carefully laid down at Copley Square last year for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. But even after all of these months looking at the items, she manages to discover new, heartfelt messages tucked away on the sides of the shoes, posters, stuffed animals, and letters that were placed in remembrance near the Boylston Street finish line.
“We cry every day,” said Marche, holding back tears. “And every day you see something different. We’ve been through these boxes a lot, but then you see something that you hadn’t seen before.”
Marche and roughly 10 employees from Iron Mountain, a Boston-based preservation and storage company, have taken on the monumentally emotional task of categorizing all of the items—bears, hats, sneakers, postcards, paper cranes, and thousands of letters—for the last three months, since a majority of the condolences couldn’t be stored in the confines of the City Archives in West Roxbury, and needed a new home.
Marche and workers from Iron Mountain decided to shoulder the responsibility of preserving and sorting all of the tokens of support from the makeshift Copley Square memorial pro bono, after Samantha Joseph, the company’s director of corporate responsibility and sustainability, realized that once the original tribute came down last June, the objects would need to be properly taken care of in order to make them last for what she hopes is a lifetime. “When I visited the site [last year], I took a look at it, and said, ‘somebody is going to be responsible for this, and I’m wondering if that’s something we could help with,’” said Joseph.