As we celebrate Independence Day, it's hard to believe not even three months have passed since Patriot's Day and the marathon bombing.

Nearly three months of surgeries, arrests, recovery, and "Boston Strong."

Today, there is an outward sign of strength in the city. But what's the feeling on the inside? How has life changed in ways that you and your neighbors may not be verbalizing so openly?

To find out, I start at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, on Boylston Street, on the spot where the bombs went off. At Marathon Sports, I ask store manager Shane O’Hara, if the neighborhood has changed in these 80 days.

“Physical changes, I haven’t necessarily seen that, but our running group is on Wednesday nights and we were all thinking gosh, we won’t be able to run through the Esplanade like we used to,” O'Hara said.

Standing on the repaired sidewalk, where there’s little visual evidence that there was any bombing, O’Hara talks about changes he's personally feeling.

“I would still probably say I’m still on the quieter side," he said. "I don’t joke around as much as I used to. I still try to do the same things I would have thought I would have always done. I take more appreciation for the finer things you know, family, the amount of time spent with them, than I did before.”

Is O'Hara alone? Are his feelings different because he works right where the bombs went off? I set out toward the Esplanade, where Boston celebrates the Fourth, and on the way, I look for deeper evidence of what has changed on the inside. On Boylston, near Dartmouth Street, I meet Maria and Domenico Galeotalanza, mother and son, who are out for a stroll. Maria lives in Waltham, Domenico in Somerville. They feel something changed too. Maria is more wary of strangers.

“You just don’t know when you meet someone, what they have in their mind," she said. "Especially if they don’t make eye contact and say hi, I think to myself, 'Does she hate us? Or does she hate me?' My family’s from Italy and we’re just open. Some of our best friends are from different parts of the country. I don’t know where this loathing comes from.”

Domenico says that after the initial shock, he’s determined not to feel fear or to opt out of any activities around the city.

“It’s kind of status quo for me," he said. "I say I’m not going to let this affect my life, where I go, what I do, how I interact with people. I thought I was going to walk down here and still see things under construction, so I’m really pleased to see how things are here. But like she said, it’s a little unsettling, a little eerie, just being back here.”

But not for everyone. I turn the corner onto Dartmouth and head to Newbury Street. Michael Last is out walking his shaggy, gray dog. He lives in the Back Bay, and says little has changed for him. He'll head to the Charles River to watch the fireworks.

"I don’t sense that there’s any fear of people because of what happened over the marathon," he said. "I think that people feel comfortable in the city and are confident, so my sense is that it’s going to be a beautiful Fourth of July on the Esplanade.”

A few blocks further away from the finish line, and I'm at the Clarendon Street playground, where children are laughing and playing.

Joanna Elkayam and her children feel very safe even though heightened security diverted them from the Esplanade.

“Everything was all blocked off," Elkayam said. "We were looking forward to going to the children’s park there, but everything was shut down already. The police seem to have it under control."

Still, her July Fourth plans are changed.

"My husband’s too nervous for us to go tomorrow, so instead we’re going to go to the Red Sox game," she said. "It’s a pretty good second choice.”

Just two blocks away is a footbridge, over Storrow Drive and onto the Esplanade.

Sue Zinger and her son are lounging on a blanket. They don’t mind the police with German Shepherds, and FBI agents in bulletproof vests milling around. She says she feels safe.

“I feel good, I have to say other than just the sheer sadness, I guess feeling that this was fairly isolated as opposed to 9-11 which seemed orchestrated," Zinger said. "I’m not from here originally, but have raised my kids here, and that’s, I think, where your heart really is. So I think that I feel as if Boston is my home and I was very affected emotionally by the term Boston Strong.”

And so Boston Strong might just mean showing up to the Pops Concert, or finding the courage to run or sit by the river again, on a blanket, listening to the river blend with the sound of cars on Storrow Drive. It’s just 9/10 of a mile from the finish line to here, not even three months, and the changes continue, on the inside and out.