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'Boston Strong' emerges as rallying cry, from stadiums to tweets

In the week since the Boston Marathon bombing, a new phrase, "Boston Strong," has sprung up around the country as sports fans put aside their rivalries and reach out to a city in pain. NBC's Luke Russert reports.

Amid a week of terror in Boston, one common theme of support emerged online and off, locally, across America and around the world: "Boston Strong."

"We are one. We are strong. We are Boston. We are Boston strong," the Red Sox public address announcer said to an eruption of cheers Saturday, as the city came together at the first home game following the tragic events. The crowd honored the fallen and celebrated the heroic, and some, such as slugger David Ortiz, spoke their minds.

That followed a new tradition in the city that started on Wednesday at the Boston Bruins hockey game, with the crowd in each stadium singing the "Star Spangled Banner" loudly and in unison.

Online, #BostonStrong was a trending topic on Twitter for much of the week and has been mentioned nearly half a million times since Monday.

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"Boston Strong" images flooded the Internet over the past few days, as this image search reveals.

Facebook pages, updated profile photos, ribbons and much more are just the beginning of the wide digital reach of the two words. Even the famed "Green Monster" at Fenway Park was outfitted with a "Boston Strong" insignia by the Red Sox, an announcement the team made via its official Twitter feed.

"I think it's been viewed as an extraordinarily generous gesture," said journalist Mike Barnicle, a Massachusetts native and MSNBC contributor. "I think it's put an all new light on the relationship between cities ... Cities get down after terrorist attacks — they're momentarily shocked and angry, but they get up, they continue and the people who live in and around those cities get up and continue because that's who we are."

Around the nation and around the world, the two words have taken on a meaning of their own. From a special "Boston Strong" run in San Diego to a moment of silence and remembrance before Sunday's London Marathon to a Milwaukee T-shirt shop printing shirts selling rapidly around, it's a movement that shows real unity and seems to know no bounds.

Nick Reynolds and Chris Dobens, Emerson College students in Boston who started an online campaign to sell "Boston Strong" T-shirts to raise money for The One Fund Boston, have already received over 23,000 orders.

"Boston is a tough and resilient town, so are its people," President Barack Obama said in a speech Monday following the bombings. "I'm supremely confident that Bostonians will pull together, take care of each other, and move forward as one proud city and as they do, the American people will be with them every single step of the way."

"This is Boston," Mayor Tom Menino said Wednesday at an interfaith service, "a city with courage, compassion and strength that knows no bounds."