Southie Longshoreman Brings Honor to all Americans

By Ray Flynn, Former Mayor of Boston and Former U. S. Ambassador to the Vatican

Waiting for the dedication ceremony of the Bill “Skippy” Miller Park on Boston Waterfront on Monday to begin, several retired Longshoremen, Tom Glynn, Miller family members, MassPort, union leaders, Congressman Lynch, Councillor Flynn, area residents and I were talking about naturally the Red Sox winning the World Series yesterday. What an honor! Boston has always had some of the most loyal fans in the country, so in my opinion, no City deserves a championship more than Boston fans do.

The Red Sox and the Boston Braves didn’t win any championships in those days, but everybody had a good story to tell. Even though my brother Steve and I were young boys at the time, our Dad who was a Longshoreman, took us to one of the Red Sox World Series games against the St. Louis Cardinals in 1946. Many years later while waiting for Pope John Paul II in the welcoming line at Lambert Airport in St. Louis and standing next to the legendary Stan Musial, The Pope after greeting me, looked at Musial and said to Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano next to him and said, “Now, here is a real Cardinal.” We all laughed, but I later asked Stan Musial how the Pope knew that he played for the Cardinals. “I have no idea Musial,”said.

Anytime the Red Sox we’re playing, you could hear the game on radio on the ships, coffee shops and bars. You could hear all the dockworkers cheer when Ted Williams hit one out of the park.

I am happy that Mass Port named the park in memory of “Skippy” Miller who passed away last year. Skippy was a Korean War Vet, devout Catholic, dedicated family man and a hard worker. I’ve been going to a lot of services lately for Korean War Veterans, Sr. Park League Hall of Famer Jimmy Collyer from The All Dorchester Sports League being just one of them. After his wake, and having coffee and scones at Greenhills Bakery in Lower Mills, everyone agreed seeing that Jimmy did so much for the young people of Dorchester over the years, they were certain that Mayor Walsh, Councillor Baker, Rep. Cullinane, Senator Collins and community leaders would honor the memory of Jimmy Collyer.

It’s sad to go to so many wakes and funerals lately of truly so many kind and dedicated Americans, but it’s also a good reminder of the unsung heroes who helped make our country and communities great.

Jeanne Rooney

Jeanne Rooney is the Editor in Chief for South Boston Online.