The Evacuation Day Banquet Tradition Lives On

So, does Tom McGrath. He’s baaaaaack! as the recurring president after a brief retirement and as always, the two-week Saint Patrick and Evacuation Celebrations went off without a hitch. To keep Tom in place as president, Mayor Marty Walsh presented him with a new named “Tom McGrath Way” sign and Governor Charlie Baker presented him with keys to the Commonwealth. So, Kathleen McGrath, where will that sign go, if not to replace “Yawkey Way”?

The 138th Annual South Boston Citizens Association Banquet and its program once again did not disappoint. Curragh’s Fancy, a welcoming venue, the crew and skipper of the USS Constitution aka “Old Ironsides”, Irish Step Dancers and an array of dignitaries led by Chief Marshall Barbara Signore (USMC-Retired).

City Councilor at Large and South Boston’s own Michael Flaherty was the Emcee and is unmatched in his effusive introductions. Governor Baker, described by his rivals as a Democrat in Republican clothing, enjoyed a loud ovation from the several hundred guests. He was good-naturedly ‘ribbed’ for the state of the MBTA, but made a point to underscore the importance of celebrating Evacuation Day for its historical significance.

Each of the elected officials tested out their jokes, so-called, on the skeptical but patient crowd. Mayor Walsh was the butt of both Parade-Shortening and Space-Saver jokes, especially from Dave Falvey the head of the Allied Wars Council, who likened the Mayor to Danny Amendola, who is known for his short pass-catching routes. As usual, Clerk Maura Doyle, with her long-suffering husband Frank as her straight man in absentia stole the show with her salty jokes.

In addition to those speakers mentioned above, among the other head table guests were Congressman Stephen Lynch, Clerk Michael J. Donovan, Representative Nick Collins, Councilor Ed Flynn, Father Joe White, Clerk Auditor Suzanne Bump, Register of Deeds Stephen Murphy, BPD Commissioner Billy Evans and Cmdr. Nathaniel R. Schick of Old Ironsides.

The Citizens Association Banquet also showcased the John W McCormack Public Award to Fire Commissioner Joe Finn, who remarked that he was surprised that a Dorchester boy would receive an award from South Boston.

The Jimmy Kelly-Peggy Flaherty Shamrock award recipients are honored for their contributions to the South Boston Community, and become another vertebrae in the backbone of the Neighborhood. Cheered on by their families, both Dyan LaRosa and Eddie O’Brien credited the passion and compassion of the people of South Boston, who’ve had a role in their lives. They both are from families who ‘give back’ as part of their human nature.

South Boston Today joins in applauding this recognition