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Let's hope it's a good one... without any fear

As I drove through Manhattan today, the New York Police Department had already placed barricades along the streets leading into Times Square for tonight's big celebration. The sidewalks were already full of people preparing to ring in 2007 When I was a child, I can remember watching images of the chaos in Times Square on TV. It's just an example of how times have changed. Now New Year's in Times Square is practically the most controlled event in the country. Police are out in force, there are barricades everywhere and strict rules about where you can go and what you can do. Don't get me wrong... I don't long for the "good ole days." However, the tight security reflects our new reality... our post 9/11 reality. Each New Year's Eve since 9/11 we have worried about the possibility that terrorists would attack again. And we still worry. We hope and pray for peace in the world in 2007, but in the back of our minds we know there is the threat of violence. I can only hope that our children won't have to contemplate the same issues when they are our age.

Today, there was another reminder of how our world has changed. We received word of a series of bombings in Bangkok. At this point, we don't know who is responsible. But we'll bring you the latest information on this story tonight.

We are also covering the events following the execution of Saddam Hussein.  A video of the actual hanging is all over the Internet. We will not show the hanging, but we will examine the unusual exchange between Saddam and his executioners. NBC's Richard Engel will have that story. 

NBC's Jim Maceda is with U.S. troops on the last day of the year, following the report that December was the deadliest month of 2006 for the U.S. armed forces. NBC's Pat Dawson is covering New Year's celebrations here and around the world. NBC's LeAnn Gregg reports on the severe weather moving across the U.S. And NBC's Michael Okwu tells us why sequels are hot in Hollywood.

It's a busy day and all us who are working this New Year's Eve want to wish you a very happy and safe New Year.