by Rick Winterson

Last Friday saw the South Boston Citizens’ Association (the SBCA) 138th Annual Evacuation Day Banquet, a part of the 242nd Annual Evacuation Day Events. It commemorated March 17, 1776, the day that the British left Boston for good – the very first victory in our War for Independence commanded by General George Washington. Some 300 celebrants attended, greeted by the SBCA’s 11-year President Tom McGrath. For your information, the SBCA is the nation’s oldest civic organization.

It was a gala indeed. Curragh’s Fancy provided Irish songs and music. Malden Comic Dave Russo showed no mercy to the Head Table – the “Head Table to Infinity”. The Convention Center’s corned beef and cabbage was outstanding.

The high point of the evening was the Awards program. Somehow, the SBCA Awards always seem to be well-deserved and highly fitting. Boston Fire Commissioner Joseph Finn received the 2018 John W McCormack Public Service Award. Later in the program, Mayor Walsh called Finn “the best Fire Commissioner in the country”. After that, Dyan La Rosa and Eddie O’Brien received Jimmy Kelly/Peggy Flaherty Community Service Shamrock Awards from Congressman Steve Lynch and Mayor Marty Walsh, respectively.

In a nice touch, Mayor Walsh presented Barbara Signor, the 2018 Parade Chief Marshal, with a glistening Revere bowl. Commander Shick, USN, from the USS Constitution received a commemorative plaque from Councilors Flaherty and Flynn, the Mayor, and SBCA President McGrath, for his very well-spoken remarks. Councilor Flaherty and the Mayor also presented SBCA President Tom McGrath with an authentic street sign that read “Tom McGrath Way”. Fitting, of course, but where will his street sign be installed?

Gov. Charlie Baker, Auditor Suzanne Bump, Senatorial candidate Nick Collins, Clerk of Court Maura Doyle, and Allied War Veterans Commander Dave Falvey all added their remarks. Fr. Joe White offered Grace. And of course, there were several comments about “Short Routes”. Can you guess why?