Allied War Veterans Not Happy
There is never a shortage of controversy when it comes to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in South Boston. To keep you up to speed, for almost 20 year parade organizers – The Allied War Veterans and MassEquality – a statewide gay rights advocacy group – battled over allowing LGBT groups to march openly in the historic parade. Last year, was the year two LGBT groups were allowed to march – OUTVets and Boston Pride and ushered in a new era of inclusion for South Boston. Well….sort of…we can’t forget about Umbrella-gate. You can read about it here: Gay Umbrellas and here: More thoughts about Umbrella-gate
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. Currently, with no snow on the ground, 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.
Well, you know what they say when you assume….It was discovered recently that the 2016 St. Patrick’s Day Parade Route would indeed stay shortened. Mayor Marty Walsh joined Jim Braude and Margery Eagan on WGBH Radio for “Ask the Mayor” when the parade route was revealed. Public safety and cost of police details/overtime was mentioned as part of the decision making process.
Evidently the Allied War Veterans are less than pleased with this news. A memo is now circulating encouraging residents to contact the City of Boston and voice your opinion about the parade route. The memo states:
At our February 22nd Meeting at City Hall, The City of Boston, without prior notice, shortened our parade by more than half. Rather than than our historic route through the neighborhood, and by our Dorchester Heights Memorial to Andrew Square, they want the parade to run Broadway Station to Farragut Road. This route was used last year because the City could not remove snowbanks from the route. We argued this restriction and were told we could be granted a new hearing to discuss pros and cons. We were not!
It also goes on to list questions helping residents to make a decision about the new route. Everything from “Is this historic route important to you?” to “Isn’t it unfair that the city of Boston can change a 115 year neighborhood event without explanation?”
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. “Our South Boston city councilors have been silent on this issue. I want to know where they stand on it?” added Long.
Mayor Walsh released a statement late Tuesday afternoon. “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.”