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Manchester native Menelik Watson: "Manchester will only get stronger after this"

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From across the Atlantic Ocean, it's difficult for Menelik Watson to put himself back in Manchester, United Kingdom.

But after Monday evening's tragic bombing at Manchester Arena, his heart was with his hometown.

"Yesterday, when I got the news, man, I started getting a lot of text messages from over there and it kind of didn't really sink in," he told TMZ. "Then I thought, 'What if someone I knew was there?' You know what I mean? And how would I respond? It's just shocking, man."

As a Manchester native, however, Watson definitely knows how he'd respond, just like the rest of the city in the wake of a tragedy.

"We're tough," he said. "Growing up in Manchester, you've got to be tough. It's one of those types of cities — I would say it's similar to Pittsburgh — very workmanlike.

"I remember growing up as a kid, and we had the IRA bombings. At the time, I was very young. I couldn't really comprehend the magnitude of the situation, but I just remember the city banding together. And about two, three years later, you don't remember because we moved past it."

Watson counts on the same attitude as Manchester tries to get through this tough time, too. His friends who work in downtown Manchester were a testament to that Monday night. They stayed in the area to offer rides to people who needed them, Watson said. With that kind of spirit, his city will recover quickly.

"The city of Manchester," Watson said, "will only get stronger from this."

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