Thursday, March 17, 2005

Evacuation Day 

The streets of Boston weren't entirely deserted this morning, but they were certainly lightly traveled in the early hours of Evacuation Day. But that will all change as the day wears on and the actual reason behind this county holiday becomes apparent. It's Saint Patrick's Day.

Yes, March 17th is a Suffolk County (which is largely Boston, but also includes Chelsea, Winthrop and Revere) holiday - schools, public offices, etc. are all closed. The premise is that it's a celebration of the evacuation of the British fleet from Boston Harbor in 1776, in response to the appearance and installation of cannons on Dorchester Heights. These were the cannons captured at Fort Ticonderoga and hauled down by Col. Henry Knox (I grew up with a namesake descendant of his, who frequently got to participate in the re-enactment events), and then set in place under the supervision of Gen. George Washington. Okay, so the fleet actually left town on March 26, but it's close enough to justify closing the town in order for the St. Patrick's Day festivities to proceed unimpeded.

This year the city of Revere received special permission from the Legislature to remain open on both Evacuation Day and Bunker Hill Day, because of the high number of snow days this winter.

Sen. Ted Kennedy decided not to meet this year with Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, breaking with an annual tradition since 1998, and instead met yesterday with the McCartney sisters, who have been in the news quite bit of late for their protests against what has become to be viewed as the thug mentality of at least some members of the IRA, one casualty of which was their brother Robert, who was beaten to death at a pub popular with IRA members.

Personally, I'm at work as usual, will be in class this evening, and then will be attending a movie night showing of The Wedding Banquet, cosponsored by NESL OUTLaws and the NESL Minority Students Association. I do anticipate a larger than usual number of drunken revelers on the T by the time I'll be leaving school at 10 pm.

The actual parade for St. Patrick's Day will be held on Sunday in South Boston. But don't look for any GLBT groups participating - No Gays Allowed.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 8:40 AM