EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

July 4, 2013

Boston ups July 4th security, revelers determined to attend

BOSTON (AP) — For many New Englanders, the Fourth of July means the Boston Pops performing the “1812 Overture” on the Charles River Esplanade and fireworks booming overhead.

This year, it’s also the city’s first large public gathering since the Boston Marathon bombings — an attack that authorities have said the suspects first considered staging on Independence Day.

But as law enforcement officials put a ramped-up security plan in place Wednesday, many people in Boston said they wouldn’t give in to fear of terrorism by changing their plans or staying away from public celebrations.

Catherine Lawrie, a 54-year-old Massachusetts Senate employee, walked down near the Esplanade to hear some of the performers rehearse Wednesday.

She was disappointed a footbridge to the river was blocked because of increased security, but said Boston looked ready to host a big party without any worries about safety.

She also wasn’t thinking about the bombing suspects’ alleged original target. “I’m thinking of independence and what our country is about,” Lawrie said.

Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart said the tight security reminded him of what it was like during the city’s first July Fourth celebration following the Sept. 11 attacks. He said before then, the thought of having bomb-sniffing dogs at the Esplanade was odd.

“The core of terrorism is psychological. I think this is a perfect time to come together as Bostonians,” he said. “Events are a good way to move on from events like what happened.”

East Boston resident Christy Scott, who watched the Boston Marathon from the halfway point, gathered with her family Wednesday to watch the concert rehearsal. The 41-year-old wore a bracelet that said “Boston Strong,” the slogan that since the April 15 attack has come to represent the city’s refusal to give in to the fear of terrorism.

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