by Rick Winterson

Last Saturday, was “the day itself” (so to speak). It was March 17, the combined St. Patrick’s/Evacuation Day. If you are seeking a more explicit tie-in between both observances, Gen. George Washington called for “Saint Patrick” to be used as the countersign password on Dorchester Heights on March 17, which turned out to be our celebrated Evacuation Day, Washington’s first Revolutionary War victory.

The South Boston Citizens’ Association (SBCA) continued its ongoing work in commemorating and celebrating Evacuation Day. Saturday morning at 9, Fr. Joe White said the Evacuation Day Memorial Mass in the historic (200 years old this year) St. Augustine Chapel. This was followed by observances on Dorchester Heights, the site of the actual fortifications that led the British evacuating Boston on March 17, 1776. Despite the bitter cold, musket salutes were rendered, “Taps” was played, and a memorial wreath was solemnly laid by the SBCA at the “American Redoubts” stone.

Well, the Parade wasn’t scheduled until the next day, so the rest of Saturday had to be spent in some way. Lines formed at local watering holes (for green beer, no doubt). Our Branch Library held a book sale. Lots of green clothing was visible. March 17 ended – generally – with quiet dinners, evening Vigil Masses, and much anticipation of the next day’s Parade.