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'Sports Illustrated' cover honors Boston Strong

A Sports Illustrated cover that is very Boston Strong.

(Gregory Heisler/SI)

This week's Sports Illustrated honors the city of Boston and all those impacted by last year's Boston Marathon attacks with a very "Boston Strong" cover.

Sports Illustrated invited all Bostonians to participate in the photo shoot, which took place Saturday morning at the finish line on Boylston Street, and some 3,000 people showed up, including runners, first responders and Mayor Marty Walsh.

The photo is accompanied by a piece from SI Senior Writer Scott Price, which explores the marathon and "the lives of more than 15 people who were affected by the bombing, all of whom bring a different perspective to the race," as well as a column from the Red Sox' David Ortiz.

Big Papi earned (even more) national attention when, while speaking to the crowd at Fenway before a Sox game, declared that "This is our f**king city!"

If I had to make a speech this year on Patriots' Day, I'd say, "God continue to bless America." Because even though it began with so much pain and tragedy, the last 12 months have been a blessing. To see a city and a country stick together after a horrible event, to recover as quickly as we did, well, that's a blessing. That could only happen in one of the greatest countries on earth.

I love the Marathon. There's no chance in hell I could run such a long distance -- I can barely run the bases anymore -- so I have great respect for those runners. In past years I always walked down near the finish line to watch when our game at Fenway was over, to cheer on the runners with my family. I'll be there this year for sure. Maybe I'll try to take selfies with as many people as I can while I'm there -- that will be my marathon. That's the great thing about this race, and this city and this country. No matter what happens, what anyone tries to do to us, we will always find a way to stay strong.

As part of the special Boston Strong package, SI also included an interactive GigaPan version of the cover photo, so all 3,000-plus in the picture can find themselves.