BOSTON (CBS) – Clutching an American flag outside the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, war veteran Alicia Watkins said Thursday’s interfaith service left her feeling united and strong in the wake of such tragedy.

“When you knock the fighter down and you think he’s down for the last count but he comes back with a second wind, we just come back harder and stronger,” Watkins told WBZ-TV.

Alicia Watkins

Watkins was at the Pentagon during the September 11 attacks. She served in Afghanistan and Iraq. Watkins came down before dawn to stand in line to attend the service.

“When the president said ‘this is personal,’ I know he meant it as a president, as a husband and as a father,” she said.

With tears streaming down her face, Watkins said the flag is heavy to those who have served the country and the Boston Marathon bombing targeting innocent civilians was upsetting to the nation.

“We come back harder, we come back stronger, we come back better, we love each other more,’ Watkins said. “I don’t know if the world is watching but you can’t stop us.”


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