I grew up in Andover, Massachusetts, about 30 miles north of Boston. As a kid, it was a big event for us to drive into the city, shop at Filene's Basement and Jordan Marsh, walk around the common and ride the Swan Boats. We'd walk right past Old North Church, where Paul Revere hung the lights warning of the British coming; past Mother Goose's grave.
Later, I'd take the bus with my friend and we'd shop or go to Red Sox games at Fenway Park. I was 14 or 15, and thought nothing of getting on the bus to Boston and taking the subway all over the city.
Boston is an old city by U.S. standards, and rich with diversity. It has a beautiful harbor. It's got MIT and Harvard. Well, that's Cambridge really, but we think of it all as Boston. That's how proud we are of Boston - everything within a 50 mile radius is pretty much referred to as "Boston." It's a center for education and culture and medical advancement.
Boston folks are tough: Hey, We've got Mark and Donnie Wahlberg for Pete's sake (Well, they might be from Dorchester, but it's all Boston to us :)
Boston folks are funny. We've got Denis Leary (Well, he may be from Worcester, but same rule applies).
They're smart: We've got Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. (They're from Cambridge too, but it's still Boston : )
Boston folks love to laugh, and their humor often bears an irony born from the struggles of immigrants making their way to a better life. Originally, the Irish (Southie) and the Italians (the North End); then later, Hispanics, Asians, Europeans, Middle Easteners, you name it. A true melting pot.
It hurts my heart that this city that I think of as mine has been attacked. But it makes me proud as I see how the hospitals handled the situation with incredible grace, how leadership hasn't hesitated to take steps to keep people safe, how law enforcement is mobilized. I can see the fierceness in their faces on TV - their absolute determination to protect their city and its people.
I love Boston.