The Committee started meeting six weeks ago planning for the day when Marine Sergeant Rich Litto would return from his tour of duty in Iraq. Lorrie Litto, Chris Hamilton, Janice Deady, Rick Sweeney, Nick Zaferakis, Bubba Cahill, Brian Wallace, Sheila Lynch, Marc Harris, Tom Graul, Bill Sempolinski, and Jimmy Shea tried to plan for everything but even they were surprised by the incredible outpouring of support for Rich Litto when they began to quietly circulate the word amongst friends about the surprise welcome home party.
|Over 200 Welcome Sgt. Rich Litto Back From Iraq
“We knew it would be tough trying to keep it a secret, “stated Janice Deady. “Richie has so many friends and he always knows what is going on in the town, even if he has been back for only a few days.” “If we had put something in the paper, we probably would have had to get the Boston Garden,” stated Chris Hamilton. “But we really wanted to surprise Richie, which we did.”
What wasn’t surprising was the level of emotion that filled Florian Hall when Richie entered the hall. “It was so emotional to have him back with his family and friends, everyone at Florian Hall felt a sense of relief along with a sense of joy. It was a very memorable night,” stated Rep Brian Wallace, who emceed the event along with Congressman Stephen Lynch.,
The evening began as the Litto boys Richie Jr, Matthew, Patrick and Mikey presented flowers to their mother, Lorrie and sister Jillian. Congressman Lynch spoke first and warmly remembered touring Iraq recently and leaving a briefing only to be met by Sgt Rich Litto. “I was certainly glad to see Richie that day in Iraq, but the General wasn’t as happy because Richie was not scheduled to be meeting me that afternoon, but try telling that to a Southie kid.” Lynch laughed. Congressman Lynch told the General how close he was with Richie and the General relented. Lynch also presented Sgt Litto with a beautifully framed Congressional Record speech which he made on the floor of Congress about Rich Litto as well as a flag which flew over the Capitol in Washington.
And Richie’s friends in high places just kept on coming. City Council President Michael Flaherty spoke next and presented Richie with a citation from the Boston City Council, which proclaimed Saturday April 15, 2006 as Rich Litto Day in Boston. Massachusetts Veteran Secretary Tom Kelly, who is a Medal of Honor recipient, then read a proclamation from Governor Mitt Romney followed by Amanda Simon, who represented Mayor Menino. Chris Hamilton presented Rich with a plaque from Boston Police Commissioner Kathy O’Toole and Senator Jack Hart presented Rich with a proclamation from the Massachusetts Senate. Representative Brian Wallace read a moving letter from City Councilor Jim Kelly as well as presenting a citation from the Massachusetts House of Representatives and ended the speaking program with a poem.
When Rich Litto spoke, he was visibly moved and told the crowd that he was overwhelmed and grateful for the support that night and for all the days and nights he was in Iraq. He especially thanked his wife Lorrie for her support and for keeping things together at home while he was away. He thanked all of the elected officials and his family and friends who made the night such a huge success as well as Southie Kids Cares who made a huge welcome home banner which was signed by Southie school kids and party attendees. It was a very special night for a very special Marine.