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Boston ramps up security for July 4 party

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 the city's first large public gathering -- outside of sports home games and music concerts -- since the Boston Marathon bombings. Authorities have said the suspects first considered staging that attack on Independence Day.

But as law enforcement officials put a ramped-up security plan in place yesterday, many people said they wouldn't give in to terrorism by staying away from public celebrations.

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

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.

Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart said the tight security reminded him of the city's first July Fourth celebration after the Sept. 11 attacks. "The core of terrorism is psychological. I think this is a perfect time to come together as Bostonians," he said. Authorities have said the concert and fireworks display usually attracts 500,000 to 600,000 spectators, but cabdriver Saidon Mayugi, 33, suggested some people would be hesitant about being out in a big crowd. "Some people, their minds are still on it," he said. -- AP

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