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  Friday, March 6, 2015
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July 17, 2008
Doc and Joe
By Brian Wallace
One graduated from Dartmouth University and the other graduated from the University of hard- knocks. But, time and circumstances placed the memory of both men front and center last Sunday morning at the World War II Memorial. Both the Reid Family and the Murphy families sat in the front row, under a tent, lost in their own private thoughts about two men whose lives touched so many others.

Doctor William Reid’s memorial bench was unveiled last Sunday at the World War II Memorial as friends, colleagues, admirers, and family members looked on. “There is still one bench left unnamed,” someone said as the cameras clicked.  “That one is already spoken for,” someone else said and everybody knew exactly what they meant. I don’t think there was anyone at the dedication who didn’t feel that the last unnamed bench at the WWII Memorial should be dedicated to the memory of Joe Murphy. I am sure that John Mullen and the members of the Fitzgerald Post and the South Boston community will work diligently to make that happen.Two commanders, two family men, two heroes, two South Boston stalwarts, two activists, two friends. Joe Murphy and Doc Reid. Joe Murphy, and his friends from the Fitzgerald Post, were the driving force behind the WWII Memorial, He was also the driving force behind last Sunday’s dedication for Doc Reid.  He was very excited about the day’s events and had put all of the pieces together as only Joe Murphy could, but God had other ideas for Joe and he called him home last week. His death shocked and saddened all of us who loved Joe. We loved his songs and his stories. We appreciated his loyalty and we sought his political guidance.

We will never forget the contributions that both men made to their country and to this community. Speaker after speaker last Sunday talked about how Doc Reid touched their lives. From a sitting Congressman to a Suffolk University Professor, the stories went on as the crowd laughed and cried at some of the anecdotes. The people who attended came from all walks of life from a former Mayor and Vatican Ambassador to the former Headmaster of Boston Latin School who called Doc Reid the most honorable man he had ever met. Fellow veterans stood with former students who sat next to mothers and fathers of former students who sat next to former teachers who sat next to CIA members who sat next to former hockey coaches. All came to honor and remember the man whom we simply called “Doc”. It was a fitting tribute to a great man who left such a lasting legacy of volunteerism, historical insight, education, family values, and service.

There were also many anecdotes about the other Commander who we lost last week as I assumed there would be. Jack Hart told a hilarious story about being summoned to a meeting at the Fitzgerald Post recently to discuss the Doc Reid memorial. Jack entered the Fitzgerald Post expecting to see Steve Lynch, me, Michael Flaherty, Bill Linehan, representatives from the Mayor’s office and other veterans at the meeting. There was only Joe Murphy and John Mullen in the Post. “You’re five minutes late,” Commander Murphy said to Jack as he sat down. Without missing a beat Joe Murphy said to John Mullen, “let’s call this meeting to order. Can you read the agenda and recognize Senator Hart.” Jack laughed as he recalled the meeting and the protocol that was the trademark of the Commander. Jack also said, “we greatly miss Joe, but since he is not here this ceremony will be about 45 minutes shorter.” There was a great deal of genuine affection from all of us for both men and I know we will be back at that WWII Memorial soon for Commander Joe Murphy. Rest in peace my good friends. You both fought the good fight and you will never be forgotten.  You both made us all better people for having known you.

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