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January 10, 2014
No Longer “Elect”! It’s Mayor of Boston Martin J. Walsh
By Rick Winterson

The weekend prior to the inauguration and swearing-in of Boston’s new Mayor Martin J. Walsh was filled with community service projects.  Some of these were gatherings, such as food drives, a “Youth Summit”, and a Prayer Meeting.  Others involved volunteers, who worked on various repair and refurbishing projects in locally important public places.  All were carried out at the request of Mayor-elect Martin J. Walsh during the weekend before his swearing-in.Weather delayed some of the work, but it eventually proceeded.  Here in South Boston, a platoon of volunteers put in hour after hour of work in the St. Monica Church Hall.  This required a relocation of the Hall’s furnishings, a thorough cleaning, and then a complete repair/repainting.  It was quite an effort, but the Hall was visibly cleaner and brighter at the end.  St. Monica Church and Hall is the site of many religious observances, numerous meetings, and all kinds of social gatherings, like the recent Thanksgiving and Christmas banquets. There were perhaps 40 or 50 volunteer projects across Boston over last weekend, reflecting Walsh’s desire to have a public service component in his assumption of the Mayor of Boston’s seat.  He has said he wants increased civic volunteerism to be a part of his new administration.

The Swearing-In
On Monday morning, January 6, Walsh family members, friends, and supporters – 7,600 of them - gathered at Boston College’s Conte Forum for Mayor Walsh’s swearing-in.  Many of his cousins and other relatives journeyed from Galway, Ireland, to see a son of Erin become Mayor of Boston.  Press coverage was extensive (to say the least).  The weather was unseasonably warm and unsettled; most of the Friday’s snowstorm had melted away.  South Boston was well represented at the Conte Forum.With that compulsive meeting-and-greeting among local politicians, the starting time of 10 a.m. was delayed by fifteen minutes.  The swearing-in finally got underway once Ron Cobb, the City Messenger, thunderously proclaimed his “Call to Order”.  The Inauguration began; it was indeed a truly memorable proceeding.

Boston City Clerk Maureen Feeney emceed the event.  When the entrance of Mayor–elect Marty Walsh was announced, the seven thousand (plus) audience jumped to their feet.  Prolonged applause went on for several minutes   Walsh was accompanied by his mother Mary and his companion, Lorrie Higgins.  Feeney introduced Fr. William Leahy, President of Boston College, who gave the formal welcoming address.  In his remarks, Fr. Leahy emphasized the strong bond that has always existed between Boston College and the City of Boston.  Mayor-elect Marty Walsh obtained his degree at B.C.Feeney then called for the introductory observances:  The stirring Boston Fire Gaelic Pipe and Drum Band escorted the nation’s Colors, borne by Cadets from the Charlestown High School Air Force JROTC Program.  The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by students from the Neighborhood House Charter School.  Students from the Boston Arts Academy beautifully rendered our national anthem, “The Star Spangled Banner”.

Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston, spoke an opening prayer.  He centered his remarks around the Prayer of St, Francis.  “Where there is war, let there be peace …”A short musical interlude followed.  Describing the high quality of this music in words is difficult – one excerpt must suffice.  The Hon. Mel King came onstage to sing his original song “One Harmony” with students from the Boston Renaissance Charter Public School.  The youthful, skillful singing by the students, who swayed as they sang (but not a twerk among them) brought the audience to their feet for a standing ovation, as “One Harmony” concluded with a resounding “Yeah!”

The other three levels of our government conveyed their greetings to Mayor-elect Walsh; all of them were well-spoken, right to the point, and commendably brief.  Sen. Elizabeth Warren mentioned that Boston’s history of progress goes back to 1630.  She thanked departing Mayor Menino for his accomplishments, while expressing her optimism about Mayor-elect Walsh.  Gov. Deval Patrick conveyed the Commonwealth’s sentiments.  He suggested only that Walsh “hang on to the reasons you wanted this office in the first place”.  Clerk of Civil Court Michael Donovan represented Suffolk County, and recalled growing up in Savin Hill near the Walsh family. 

“I watched you.” Donavan said, “You’ll do well.  We’ll work for you.  Just recommit to the passion you showed in the campaign.”(NOTE:  Donovan’s remarks were made immediately after the musical interlude described next.)Yo-Yo Ma, the world-renowned ‘cello virtuoso, performed the event’s second musical interlude.  His “Inauguration Medley” included what the program listed as a “traditional Irish melody”.  Well, that turned out to be “Danny Boy”, an Irish melody whose provenance is still being disputed.  After “Danny Boy”, Ma played “Toccata for Solo ‘Cello” by George Crumb, the contemporary American composer.  He closed with a challenging, inverted rhythmic  gigue (read “jig” in the English sense of that word) from Bach.  It was a brief but incredible interlude by a massive musical talent.

Boston City Clerk and emcee Maureen Feeney officially certified the election of Martin J. Walsh to succeed Thomas M. Menino as Mayor of the City of Boston.  Massachusetts Chief Justice Roderick L. Ireland conducted the swearing-in of the new Mayor Marty Walsh.  The Mayor’s mother Mary held the Bible; his companion Lorrie stood by his side.  It was the most moving moment of the morning:  Justice Ireland intoned those words, “Do you, Martin Joseph Walsh, solemnly swear to …?”, as the three required oaths of office were administered.And it was done!  No longer “-elect”, Mayor Martin J. Walsh stepped forward, waved to the crowd, and swore in the assembled 13 City Councilors – his very first official act, to be followed by a highly active afternoon at City Hall just an hour later.Mayor Walsh then gave his Inaugural Address.  It was a great speech, delivered with great sincerity.  At 25 minutes, it was precisely the right length. 

Walsh thanked to those who brought him to this point, and who set good examples for him.  He was especially vocal in praising now ex-Mayor Menino for all he (Menino) had achieved during his 20 years in office.Walsh’s speech began by evoking history and describing “the way we are”.  He effectively pointed out that, “We are a City on a Hill” but not just Beacon Hill, going on to list all of the hills on which Boston sits – “Together, we can create ONE Boston, a hub …”.  He then specified the issues he foresees as Mayor:  public safety, establishing world-class public education, restructuring the BRA, new enterprises, the Strand Theater, easing the lot of poor families and seniors, more transparency, and jobs, many more jobs as entrees to create an urban middle class in Boston.  “I am listening.” Walsh concluded.

South Boston Online won’t presume to describe Walsh’s speech further.  But we suggest, indeed insist, that you get it and read it carefully yourself.  It was good – very good.  Contact us if you need a copy.  It has been sent out as public information.The Rev. Dr. Ray Hammond gave the Inaugural Benediction.  In a nice touch before the blessing, Hammond asked everyone to introduce themselves and say, “We’re in this together”, to the persons next to them.  Ronan Tynan, the noted Irish tenor, sang the Recessional, “God Bless America”. 

The Inaugural Celebration
By 7 p.m. on Monday evening, Inauguration Day, the Hynes Convention Center was packed.  The “Taste of Boston” tables were crowded and the replenishments kept flowing.  Lenny Clark and Steve Sweeney had the partiers in stitches.  Everywhere one turned, there were shouts of recognition and laughter.  It goes without saying that South Boston was well represented (as they were in the elections on November 5).The entertainment swung between the Main Stage of the Hynes Center and an area called Hall C, where a smaller stage had been set up. 

The Boston Pops Swing Band, conducted by Keith Lockhart was the center of attention.  And they swung.  “In the Mood”, for example.The Pops Swing Band accompanied local icon Ellis Hall in his, well, his iconic “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”  Ellis and the Pops then backed Tom Scholz, originally the guitarist of the rock group “Boston”.  As odd as it might sound, the Blue Man Group came onstage with white PVC pipes, and played a percussion piece with Boston Pops continui.  It was quite the show.The long-awaited Dropkick Murphys then took the stage.  

This is a punk rock group who were formed back in 1996.  After a lot of work, they went viral and have by now performed all over the world. They electrified the crowd with their composition of “Jessie”, accompanied by the Pops on strings and brass.  Hey, it worked.  And they closed with “Marty Walsh for Boston” (oh, blatant favoritism).The Pops played – to the crowd, of course – “Sweet Caroline”, and believe it or not, a version of “Falling in Love with You”, crooned (yes, crooned) by Keith Lockhart.  Once again, hey, it worked.Steve Sweeney bridged a few minutes with his priceless routine about local accents, and how nice people from other parts of the country are, when compared to Bostonians.  House Speaker Rep. Robert Deleo introduced Mayor Marty Walsh, who made his first appearance of the evening at 10:30 p.m.  Deleo advised, “Just be the Marty Walsh you were when you were campaigning.” 

Newly inaugurated Mayor Walsh spent a few minutes reiterating the points he made in his Inaugural Address that morning, and then thanked all of his staff and his volunteers, especially Tommy Nee.Despite being exhausted by his terminally busy day, Marty then took the time to mingle with the crowd.  The Inaugural Gala was a great event.  Great, and memorable all around.



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