My first July FOURTH at the Esplanade, a friendly Saudi couple, both grad students, sat next to us on the riverbank. They asked about the holiday, and the history of our city and country. A lively discussion with the inquisitive newcomers followed. The husband bought us all ice cream cones to celebrate! It was a lovely night and an example of Boston’s best-kept secret: We’re diverse, we’re welcoming, we’re open, we’re America old and new. Emily, from Watertown
While in Ireland last semester, all I could think of was how much I missed Boston and its people. I still remember taking the 504 Express Bus after being away for three months and tearing up when I saw the beautiful skyline. In that moment, I knew there was nowhere else I’d rather call home. Cindy, from Watertown
My cousin and I did sailing lessons on the Charles for a dollar (before they cleaned out the river) and she fell in. On the way home on the Red Line, no one would sit near us, we smelled so bad. Love that dirty water. DB, from Lexington
I had the distinct pleasure of living and working in the Boston area about 10 years ago. I fondly recall the commuter rail, taking advantage of walking from South Station through Downtown Crossing in nice weather, shopping at Filene’s Basement, Chinatown, the North End, the South End — the list goes on and on. I feel that Boston will always be a part of me. J. Buchanan, from Raleigh, N.C.
I love Boston because it is my hometown. I was born in Southie, raised in Quincy, and always wanted to move back to Boston. I have worked in Boston, played in Boston, enjoyed concerts, plays, hockey games, baseball games. I love the Common. It was our family Christmas tradition to go see Jordan Marsh’s windows, then on to the Common for the beautifully decorated trees and the live nativity scene (those were the days). In summer, FROG POND! Gayle Baranow Bielech, from Philadelphia
I love the “Make Way for Ducklings” ducks in the Public Garden. ACK, from Washington D.C.
When I was 8 I visited Boston for the first time with my family; I remember walking the streets with my dad as he pointed out historic sights, visiting the Old North Church and Bunker Hill. I was overcome by the sense of history and how friendly people in Boston were. I consider Boston a second home and know it takes more than a coward’s act to beat down the spirit of the people of this great city. All over this country We Are All Bostonians! Marsha Hyatt, from King George, Va.
Just a week ago, I took my son to the Boston Public Library. We stumbled into a section full of Russian-language books. I told my 6-year-old that this is one of the reasons to love Boston. It has one of the best public libraries in the country, it lets anyone read any book in any language they want. They just have to walk into this amazing place and have the freedom to be whoever they want to be. Boston is an extremely noble place where knowledge is prized. Boston is glorious. KSE, from Boston
My daughter went to Emerson College in Boston. I loved going there to drop her off for the school year, spend time there, see the Sox play, browse on Newbury Street, walk through the Public Garden. I love that it is a walkable city. I love the history. I love the people and the neighborhoods. I am so upset by this tragedy, but I know Bostonians will bounce back. You will do it. Ed, from Lewes, Del.
There is nothing better than Fenway bleachers in June, Harvard Square in September, Faneuil Hall during December and the Common in April. Boston, you’re our home. Katie, from Beverly
I have fond memories of growing up in Dorchester, St. Peter’s neighborhood. Being a family of ten, we have lots of stories to remember. Knowing your neighbors made up strong neighborhoods. Cathy G. Rizz, from Weymouth
Growing up next to the national Braille Press, walking to the Mapparium, and seeing Stephen Hawking speak when I was 8 years old. Boston is a city of education, that taught me from a young age to ask why things happen, and explore my curiosity. A gorgeous natural setting to learn about the world. In my experience, from those who temporarily reside here, to those who actually live here, Boston touches every person because it encourages you to learn about yourself and the world around. Laura M., Boston
I love the abrasive, sarcastic nature of true Bostonians. That being said, a true Bostonian will literally give you his last dollar if you were in need. Sam P., Brighton
I love Boston because it reminds me of my home town of Melbourne, which is as well a cosmopolitan city with over 100 different nationalities living together in harmony. Anne Rivers, Melbourne, Australia
I love Boston because the bus driver yells at you as you get on, and you thank him as you get off! I like to give up my seat on the T for a little old lady or a fragile man. I like how drivers honk their horn so much, as if they were trying to talk with their cars! Mike, Cambridge
I was born in Dorchester, went to St. Kevin Grammar School, Cardinal Cushing High School and Boston City Hospital Nursing School. Those buildings are long gone. But they are a part of me. My brothers and I played kick the can on the street, baseball in a parking lot, and threw pimple balls against the wall of St. Margaret’s Hospital. We shopped at Elm Farm in Uphams Corner and occasionally went to see a movie at the Strand. Boston is in my childhood. It’s comfort and nostalgia. It’s in my blood. Pam Hamilton, Milton
I went into Wills Hardware in Medfield on Tuesday to buy a 80 cent piece of hardware, but didn’t have any cash. There was a new cashier, and she took a dollar out of her wallet and paid for the piece, saying that “I’m not going to let those guys ruin our city — you can repay me by ‘paying it forward.’ ” BRAVO!
W. David Stephenson, Medfield
I love BostoN because 20 years ago, as a newlywed and a new immigrant, the first thing my husband showed me right after we got married was this VHS video called “Heroes and Heartaches: A Treasury of Boston Sports Since 1975” and I can’t believe I actually cried about it. It was my indoctrination to this country and to this day I’m still head over heels in love (with Boston). Y.V., New York
I love the first warm day after a long winter where everyone has their bike out, or is walking their dog, or is strolling their baby. I love the season’s marked changes. I love how walkable the city is. I love how the sun glints off the Prudential Tower. I love the mixture of old and new architecture and I love how the city’s population explodes every September, and how noticeably more quiet, more calm it is in the summer. I love the free concerts at the Hatch Shell, the New England Aquarium, the Museum of Science, and Newbury Street, even if I couldn’t ever afford anything there. I love all the old bookshops that were around when I was there. I left Boston almost right out of college because I couldn’t find a job, and the city felt small to me then. Now I live in LA, and I would love to live in a small city again. Kate, Los Angeles
Born and raised in JP and wife in Neponset. Love the quirky streets and Fenway Park. Where else can you see a ballgame in the middle of an area originally designed for cows. Hence, the quirky little streets. JB and MB, Hingham
Boston was where I met my wife, ran along the Charles, discovered museums weren’t boring, met wonderful professors, made lifelong friends, learned to love the T, shopped at Filene’s Basement, dined in Chinatown at 3 a.m., strolled with my then-girlfriend through the Common, watched the Pops at the Hatch Shell, listened to WFNX, discovered NPR and Click & Clack, made Sunday runs to the N.H. border . . . and just learned to love all that is Boston. Thank you, Boston. Stay Strong. AZ, Kuala Lumpur
This is my neighborhood: My grocery store is Shaw’s. I go to that Lord & Taylor once a week; my friends mock me for going to the Boston Public Library almost every day (I love the books and courtyard more than anyplace on earth). The Atlantic Fish is my favorite restaurant. Abe’s is my favorite place for brunch. I have drinks at Sola’s all the time. I get venti green ice teas at Starbucks. I shop at the Tannery. And every time I drive home I take Storrow to Exeter to my block. I’ve owned here for six years, and when that street opens up I will go back to those places every day with no fear. I will be proud to walk in my neighborhood, and will love where I do live with no worries just as much as I did before all this happened. You will not take my city from me or from any of the victims . . . This is OUR TOWN . . . THIS IS BOSTON. A., Back Bay
I love the view on the ride over the Charles in the morning on the T, when the sun beams off the Hancock. Eric, Cleveland
I love the very beautiful Public Garden. I love to walk on the Common and feel its history. I love that Boston is small enough so I can know every neighborhood. Despite all of the changes, the past I knew wraps its arms around me, and the city claims me as its own. I remember my mom taking me to Filene’s on the subway when I was little. A token cost 20 cents back then. The Record American cost 3 cents. We ate at St. Clair’s restaurant, which isn’t there anymore. I participated in marches down Boylston Street, past the old Playboy Club, which also isn’t there anymore. I have fond memories of Swan Boat rides. All of these memories are stored in my personal “hard drive,” and they are part of the tapestry that is me. Elaine LeMacchia, Revere
Growing up in India I learned about the Boston Tea Party and the Battles of Lexington and Concord among other things. . . . Fast forward to today, we had our four children here at the Brigham.
A Citizen, Boston
I grew up here. I loved the Swan Boats before I could walk. I went to BU. I danced in Kenmore Square, I got my first real job as a nurse at Boston City. I have friends who I won’t ever let go. I went far away for some years, but I came back because Boston has always tugged at my heartstrings. Once my husband, son, and I were in Kuala Lumpur, on the other side of the world from Boston, and we passed a man who noticed our Red Sox gear; he said, “The nation runs deep.” And I felt that tugging again, and I always will. Nancy, Hingham