In that way, Boston has hinted at a new American maturity, say experts. Because of it, the “new normal” post-Boston might not look too different from what came before – a more robust police presence at big events, more surveillance cameras on urban streets perhaps. But like other cities worldwide that have faced the threat of bombings for decades – from London toMadrid to Jerusalem – Boston has made the more profound step of showing that a community’s greatest defense against terrorism is in the determination of its people.
“Boston is showing you can take a blow like this, and you can keep going,” says Stephen Flynn, codirector of the George J. Kostas Research Institute for Homeland Security at Northeastern University in Boston.
Of course, resolve was in no short supply after 9/11, and the flag planted at ground zero in New York came to symbolize the nation’s determination to move on unbowed. Yet in many ways it could not. September 11 laid bare not only shocking gaps in the US intelligence network, but also the full array of terrorist groups targeting America. Quite simply, America had work to do – and new threats for its residents to process – before it could move on.