Millions of Americans on Saturday gathered for Independence Day parades, picnics and hotdog eating competitions, defying worries over possible security threats and the danger of wildfires in the West. Boston is celebrating Independence Day under the watchful eye of more than 80 surveillance cameras, a helicopter buzzing overhead as well as hundreds of state police, Boston police and Army National guard inside an area enclosed my metal fences around the Esplanade. State Police Colonel Timothy Alben said today that authorities had employed a “multi-layered” security plan amid warnings from the intelligence community about the potential for ISIS-inspired attacks on Fourth of July festivities.

Meanwhile in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo on Friday ordered heightened security measures across the state over the U.S. July Fourth holiday weekend in response to a call for vigilance by the federal government. “We are keenly aware that New York State remains a top target for terrorists,” Cuomo said in a statement. The Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have issued an alert calling for local authorities and the public to remain vigilant for possible threats following recent calls for violence by Islamic State militants.

It’s important that we continue to function as a society with a sense of normalcy despite the threat of terrorism that still lingers, especially on our national holiday. If we are to shut our doors, cancel the BBQs, and fear the firework shows and celebrations across our nation then we have let the terrorists win. I am thrilled to see so many fellow Americans out there celebrating. I plan on getting off this keyboard myself and joining in on the fun! Happy 4th everyone!