National News

July 4, 2013

Boston ups July 4th security, revelers resolute

BOSTON — 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.

“Not about to change our plans and traditions,” she said. “We’re just not going to live in fear.”

Boston University chemistry professor Sean Elliott also brought relatives to the area.

“I’m not nervous,” the 41-year-old said. “I am sure that the human spirit will thrive. I’m sure it will be a great festival like it is every year.”

Authorities have said the concert and fireworks display usually attracts 500,000 to 600,000 spectators, but 33-year-old cab driver Saidon Mayugi suggested some people would be hesitant about being out in a big crowd.

“Some people, their minds are still on it,” Mayugi said.

Local, state and federal authorities coordinated on a security plan that includes a greater law-enforcement presence. That means more uniformed and undercover officers, along with precautions that include bag checks and increased live video surveillance along the Charles River that authorities will monitor from a nearby command center. Authorities also have set up a text-a-tip line for the public to report any suspicious activity.

Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis said the public will see more officers both downtown and in outlying neighborhoods. He said the city even graduated a class of 55 police recruits early so they could assist with security.

State police Col. Timothy Alben said Wednesday that authorities haven’t received any threats against the event by the river, and he encouraged the public to come out to a show that his own family will be attending.

So will Gov. Deval Patrick.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Patrick said Wednesday. “I think it’ll be a great day.”

———

Associated Press writer Bob Salsberg in Boston contributed to this story.

 

1
Text Only
National News
  • Ukraine, Russia trade blame for shootout in east

    Within hours of an Easter morning shootout at a checkpoint manned by pro-Russia insurgents in eastern Ukraine, Russia’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement blaming militant Ukrainian nationalists and Russian state television stations aired pictures of supposed proof of their involvement in the attack that left at least three people dead.

    April 20, 2014

  • In West Bank, teen offenders face different fates

    The boys were both 15, with the crackly voices and awkward peach fuzz of adolescence. They lived just a few minutes away from one another in the West Bank. And both were accused of throwing stones at vehicles, one day after the other.

    April 20, 2014

  • Study: Fuels from corn waste not better than gas

    Biofuels made from the leftovers of harvested corn plants are worse than gasoline for global warming in the short term, a study shows, challenging the Obama administration’s conclusions that they are a much cleaner oil alternative and will help combat climate change.

    April 20, 2014

  • Fracking foes cringe as unions back drilling boom

    After early complaints that out-of-state firms got the most jobs, some local construction trade workers and union members in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia say they’re now benefiting in a big way from the Marcellus and Utica Shale oil and gas boom.

    April 20, 2014

  • In Colorado, a pot holiday tries to go mainstream

    Once the province of activists and stoners, the traditional pot holiday of April 20 has gone mainstream in the first state in the nation to legalize recreational marijuana.

    April 20, 2014

  • ‘Capt. America’ tops box office for third week

    Captain America continues to vanquish box office foes, triumphing in ticket sales for the third consecutive week and dominating over megastar Johnny Depp’s new movie.

    April 20, 2014

  • Probe could complicate Rick Perry’s prospects

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry has spent a record 14 years in office vanquishing nearly all who dared confront him: political rivals, moms against mandatory vaccines for sixth graders, a coyote in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    April 20, 2014

  • NASA’s space station Robonaut finally getting legs

    Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs.

    April 19, 2014

  • Documents detail another delayed GM recall

    Government documents show that General Motors waited years to recall nearly 335,000 Saturn Ions for power steering failures despite getting thousands of consumer complaints and warranty repair claims.

    April 19, 2014

  • Captain of sunken SKorean ferry, 2 crew arrested

    The captain of the ferry that sank off South Korea, leaving more than 300 missing or dead, was arrested Saturday on suspicion of negligence and abandoning people in need. Two crew members also were taken into custody, including a rookie third mate who a prosecutor said was steering in challenging waters unfamiliar to her when the accident occurred.

    April 19, 2014