BOSTON

- Survivors, first responders and relatives of those killed in the Boston Marathon bombing marked the anniversary yesterday with tributes that combined sorrow over the loss of innocent victims with pride over the city's resilience in the face of a terror attack.

"This day will always be hard, but this place will always be strong," former Mayor Thomas Menino told an invitation-only audience of about 2,500 people at the Hynes Convention Center, not far from the finish line where three people died and more than 260 others were injured a year ago.

Police last night evacuated the area around the finish line to investigate two unattended backpacks. Police, who took a man into custody in the incident, say the bomb squad detonated the two backpacks as a precaution. They tweeted asking for people to stay away.

Earlier in the day at the ceremony, Vice President Joe Biden said the courage shown by survivors and those who lost loved ones is an inspiration for other Americans dealing with loss and tragedy.

"You have become the face of America's resolve," he said.

Biden also praised the 36,000 runners who plan to run the marathon next week, saying they will send a message to terrorists.

"America will never, ever, ever stand down," he said, to loud applause. He added, "We own the finish line."

Authorities say two ethnic Chechen brothers who lived in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan and the Dagestan region of Russia planned and orchestrated the attack with two bombs in backpacks near the marathon finish line on April 15, 2013.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died following a shootout with police days after the bombings. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 20, has pleaded not guilty to federal charges and is awaiting a trial in which he faces a possible death sentence. Prosecutors say the brothers also killed MIT police Officer Sean Collier days after the bombings in an attempt to steal his gun.