It’s going down for real. If Mayor Marty Walsh thought that shortening the parade route was going to be accepted without issue in Southie, then he underestimate the passion of the parade organizers, The Allied War Veterans Council (AWVC). On Monday, the AWVC filed suit against the City of Boston stating the condensed parade route was a violation of their First Amendment right to free speech and assembly. The hearing will take place on Tuesday at 2pm at US District Court.
If you have no idea what we’re talking about – this recap will get you up to speed:
Last year, thanks to Snowmageddon – the parade route was shortened to just the straight shot of West Broadway – beginning at Broadway Station (Aka Broadway Village) up East Broadway and ending at Farragut Road. It was assumed that the parade route would go back to the original route which began at Broadway Station and ended at Andrew Square winding through the neighborhood and passing historic landmarks like Dorchester Heights – it is after all the Evacuation Day Parade.
Well, you know what they say when you assume….at the end of last month it was discovered that the 2016 St. Patrick’s Day Parade Route would indeed stay shortened. “After consulting with Commissioner Evans, I have decided that it is in the best interest of public safety, while balancing the historic tradition of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, to use the same route that we did last year for this year’s parade.”
Needless to say, South Boston residents and beyond went bananas – especially via social media. Petitions were written demanding the parade go back to the original route. Others bashed the mayor and vowed never to vote for him again. The Allied War Veterans have also been publicly vocal about the mayor’s decision.
Ryan Long, member of both the Allied War Veterans Council and the Michael J. Perkins Post was disappointed with the City of Boston’s decision. “I think the city is forgetting the historical significance of the parade. It’s an Evacuation Day Parade and Dorchester Heights played a key role in the evacuation of British soldiers from Boston in 1776. The parade route no longer includes this memorial.” Long also went onto say that the Perkins Post – located at the corner of O and East Fourth – hosts the Gold Star families – families who have lost a loved one during service. “Since the parade no longer goes by that route we have to find another location to put up the staging for the families to watch the parade,” said Long.
The mayor and the Boston Police are still sticking to their story of public safety and budget issues as the reason they shortened the parade. They even when on to state facts like “there was a 50% drop in the number of calls for EMS and a 40% drop in police calls.” We have a feeling that had little to do with the fact it was a condensed route and more that there was a ton of snow on the ground, no where to park and crappy weather. We also have to wonder what will happen if the weather is nice and 500,000 plus people show up in the “concentrated route.”
It will be in the hands of the court on Tuesday and a decision will be made one way or the other. After all this, you know the mayor has got to be a little bit apprehensive about marching in the parade this year. If those Facebook posts are reflective of how the community feels, he’s bound to get heckled and boo’d.
As always, there is never a shortage of drama around the parade.