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The phrase "Boston Strong" began appearing around the city in the week after the April 15, 2013, marathon bombings. This one appeared near Fenway Park. / Melanie Eversley, USA TODAY

The phrase Boston Strong may have been used lots of times on Monday as the city successfully pulled off the first Boston Marathon since the April 15, 2013, bombing, but data show the first tweet with that phrase after the disaster came from far away.

Twitter data show that a schools superintendent in the Canton, Ohio, area was the first to encourage Boston with those two words after the blasts that killed three people and put eyes around the world on the New England city. Curtis Clough says he got the phrase from his late dad, Robert Clough, a traveling salesman who said when work took him to Boston, the people there always treated him well.

"He was a truck and tractor parts salesman and his territory was Connecticut, Rhode Island, new York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and a little bit of Pennsyvlania," said Clough, 47, of New Philadelphia, Ohio.

"With his hotel rooms, he would talk about the type of service he would get and how welcoming all the people were," Clough said. "If his car broke down, he knew people he could call. They'd be willing to help at any cost."

When the bombing at the marathon took place, Clough, superintendent of Strasburg-Franklin Local Schools, recalled his father using the phrase "Boston Strong" and decided it was fitting.

"I received a notice on my cell phone of the bombing happening," Clough said. "It just felt appropriate because of what was being said on the news and how quickly everybody rallied to it."

There has been debate as to who was the first to use Boston Strong. Emerson College students Nicholas Reynolds and Chris Dobens have said they came up with the phrase within hours of the attacks. From there, came T-shirts and other items with the phrase that has come to represent Boston's resilience after the bombing. From proceeds, the students were able to donate $837,000 within one month of the bombing to the One Fund Boston, the charity set up to help those most adversely affected by the tragedy.

Figures show the phrase "Boston Strong" has been used more than 2.18 million times since the bombing, according to Crimson Hexagon, a social monitoring and analytics firm based in Boston. On April 15, the one-year anniversary of the marathon bombing, the phrase was mentioned more than 285,400 times on Twitter and Facebook and peaked during the 2 p.m. hour, when a memorial ceremony took place.

Perhaps not surprisingly, surges tend to come with moments and dates that have meaning to the city of Boston, including the capture of the Tsarnaev brothers, the Red Sox taking the World Series and the one-year anniversary of the marathon bombing.

As for Clough's tweet, it read, "Thoughts and prayers to Boston marathon victims. Hoping for the best. #bostonstrong."



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: Ohio man was first to tweet 'Boston Strong'

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