When it comes to the extra-tight security at Thursday's 75th Anniversary Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Al Roker is taking a decidedly hands-off approach. "I'm sure there are [added precautions], but I'm not aware of them," admits the Today show weatherman, who will host the NBC telecast (beginning at 9 am/ET) alongside his morning show cohorts, Katie Couric and Matt Lauer. "If you really start thinking about that, it takes away from... the parade.

"There are people who are much better at worrying about that stuff than I am," he continues. "Just like the Today show, people always [ask], 'Are you worried for your safety out there [on the plaza]?' I don't think about it. Now, if I see a guy with red tubes strapped around his waist... and wires coming out of his chest, I might shy away from him. But otherwise, you do what you do."

This much seems certain: In light of the ongoing war on terrorism, safety will be a top priority at the annual parade. But as Roker points out, so will celebrating an enduring Big Apple tradition. "I think the parade will mean a lot more this year [in light of Sept. 11]," he says. "It's always been a big deal, but this year, for this city — and I think even for the country — it will mean more."

The same goes for the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree on Nov. 28 — another NBC event that Roker will preside over. "This isn't just New York's Christmas tree; to a certain extent, I think it's the world's Christmas tree," he says. "Whenever you think of Christmas, you invariably see a picture of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree."

"Yes, it makes for congestion in the city, and we've got hundreds of thousands of tourists," he adds. "[But] you know what? You see that tree and you just go, 'Wow.' It's magic every year."