Dennis Seidenberg #44 of the Boston Bruins stands near aa projection of the Boston Marathon Memorial Ribbon seen on the ice during pre game ceremonies in remembrance of the Boston Marathon bombing victims
Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

A Decade After the Marathon Bombings, Boston Fans Singing the National Anthem Remains Chill-Inducing

From 1976 to 2018, one man held court at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts, the home of the Boston Bruins and Boston Celtics.

Rene Rancourt was the National Anthem singer ahead of every Bruins game over his 42-year career. Hearing Rancourt's Star-Spangled Banner doesn't usually bring NHL fans to tears or provide goosebumps to any hockey lover with ears, but before one game in particular, Rancourt gave his microphone to the city of Boston, and helped the Bruins fans and Bostonians heal.

The Boston Marathon Bombings Shake a City

A large sign with the names of the Boston Marathon bombing victims and thanking law enforcement is placed by a Boston Bruins hockey team fan at a makeshift memorial for victims near the site of the bombings at the intersection of Boylston Street

Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

To say the Boston Marathon bombing rocked Beantown in a way the city couldn't have imagined is an understatement. Patriots' Day in Boston is a state holiday, one that is marked by a pre-noon Red Sox game and, of course, the Boston Marathon.

At the finish line on Boylston Street, two men planted homemade explosives that took the lives of three bystanders and inured another 281 onlookers there for the world renowned race. After a citywide lockdown and police chase through the surrounding area resulted in the arrest of one of the perpetrators, Boston appeared ready to return to some semblance of normalcy. First up on the calendar? A Bruins home game, one that would carry the weight of every Boston Marathon bombing victim and their families.

The first major sporting event after the bombings was one of great catharsis for the city, despite the increased security presence.

"It brings back memories you don't want," said then-Bruins forward Jay Pandolfo, who was a member of the New Jersey Devils during the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. "It's something you don't want to think about. You want to go ahead with your life. You don't want to live in fear."

"I'm sure tonight will be full of emotion," forward Chris Kelly added. "If we can go play hard to help the city of Boston in any way we can, I know everybody in this locker room would be willing to do that.

With the regular season almost over and the playoffs looming for the Bruins, fans were able to look forward to something, to take their minds off the dark cloud that had recently washed over the city.

Chants of "Boston Strong" rang out as the Boston Fire Department Honor Guard took the ice for the pregame ceremony, representing all of the first responders who rushed to the scene of the bombings. As Rancourt launched into the Star-Spangled Banner, something was different that Wednesday night, and he could tell.

Bruins Fans Sing the National Anthem in Unison After the Bombing

As Bruins stars Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron looked on, Rancourt dropped the mic from his mouth and offered it to the crowd. As if for the first time, the city of Boston took a collective breath and sang in unison. The moment was astonishing.

Whether or not you believe in such things, it's clear that the Bruins fed off the energy of their city, almost knowing that Boston needed something to cheer for. While they lost that game to the Buffalo Sabres in a shootout, the Bruins were about to embark on something even more special: a Stanley Cup Playoffs run.

Sure, coach Claude Julien and his squad would fall to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Finals, but no one in Boston seemed to care all that much. A Red Sox World Series win later that year also helped heal the wounds of a city rocked by senseless violence. But, a decade later, the voices of the TD Garden still echo loudly through the streets of Boston, reminding everyone in the city that Boston Strong isn't just a chant, it's a way of life.

MORE: Boston College's Red Bandana Jerseys Honor a 9/11 Hero