MANCHESTER, England — The deadly suicide bombing after an Ariana Grande concert sparked a nationwide increase in security with troops deployed on Britain's streets for the first time since 2003.
The country was at the highest possible terror threat level but onlookers may well have not realized it.
Streets were busy and laughter could once again be heard from outdoor cafes, as residents of Manchester — known as Mancunians — began the onerous task of trying to carry on with their lives Wednesday.
The British concept of the "stiff upper lip" — epitomized by the "keep calm and carry on" ethos born out withstanding German bombing during the Second World War — was very much on display.
Image: Mounted Police patrol as members of the public lay floral tributes and messages in Manchester
Mounted police patrol Manchester as the city recovers from the bombing. Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images
Just a few hours after Monday's blast, one local radio host invoked that so-called "blitz spirit," along with a devastating 1996 IRA bombing, and insisted that Manchester had not been intimidated before and would not be this time.
However, the usually vibrant and friendly northern English city is not yet back at full strength following the suicide attack.
A series of evacuations and police operations betrayed a still-jittery atmosphere, understandable so soon after the tragedy less than 48 hours before.
"It's all pretty nervy," said Marcus Murray, a 27-year-old software engineer.
He came home from work to find a police officer stood in the doorway of his building holding a gun — a rarity in the U.K. where firearms are rare even for authorities.
Murray's apartment building was at the center of an operation featuring officers carrying rifles and security personnel dressed in military fatigues.
"The policeman holding a gun told me I can't come in basically," he said.
Moment Blast Shook Manchester Arena Caught on Camera 0:33