The whole world may not be watching, but Boston’s legendary Fourth of July celebration — celebrating its 40th anniversary, still under the guiding hand of philanthropist David Mugar — will be a major event nonetheless. Mostly, it will be a chance for Bostonians to gather in a spirit of togetherness just two and one-half months after the pain of Patriot’s Day. But it also will serve as proof that the show can truly go on even in an atmosphere of heightened security.
This year, as most Bostonians already know, the national-TV spotlight is shifting from the Esplanade to New York City, with a glitzy, multi-genre concert featuring Usher, Mariah Carey, and Tim McGraw supplanting the Boston Pops. But that should be of little consequence for the half-million people who picnic on the Esplanade lawn and line the Charles River in Boston and Cambridge for the celebratory fireworks: This was always, first and foremost, a local celebration of patriotic spirit.