Letters to the Editor

Remember our History

To the Editor,

The Battlefield of June 17th 1775, is not lost to the Historians of Charlestown, NPS or National Military historians.  It is the “First Continental Army” Veterans Memorial Battlefield of our Nation.  Charlestown Residents live in the shadow of Daily Markers, Memorials and Remembrances of the events of the June 17th Battlefield.  Since before the First Nationally known Memorial Day, Decoration Day of the 1860’s, Charlestown residents, held the First Formal Veteran’s Battlefield Memorials, across all “Bunker Hill Heights” since 1789. Maps in the Library of Congress attest to History of this First National Conflict for American Freedoms..

It is time for the CNC, and all Charlestown residents to finally establish a “Charlestown Heights” National Historic Battlefield District-Landmarks Study Commission” for a “First Army” June 14th and June 17th, 2025, Anniversary of the Battlefield.  In 2018, the CNC began the process for such a Commemoration for a “Battlefield District” for all “Charlestown Heights”, under numerous Massachusetts Historic Preservation laws.  The BRA-BPDA may have forgotten to file a Historic Battlefield Preservation report with the Boston landmarks Commission in the BHA Permit process and the BLC may have Forgotten to file that Battlefield “Open Green Space” resources report with the National Parks ABPP for the Public reuse of the Open “Battlefield” Green Space of June 17th, but the residents of “Charlestown Heights” will not, once again lose or forget the sacrifice of the First Veterans, of the First Army, of the First Battlefield, of June 17th 2025 anniversary.  Under New Federal and Recent CPA Historic Preservation laws of the last 25 years, the Lost Battlefield and Lost Village of “Charlestown Heights”, will be found, intact, united again as a National Historic District.

This Memorial Day, remember the National American Memorial Day of May 30th or 31st, but do not forget the First American Army Formation of June 14th on the Battlefield of June 17th 1775. The City of Boston, BLC has never declared this Historic Battlefield of June 17th as a National Historic Battlefield District, since 1975, or as a Boston Landmarks Historic District since BLC formation. Of the Nine Historic Districts of Boston, this whole Battlefield district, June 17th, is Not LOST and will Not be Forgotten by all Charlestown Residents. 

The Final Building Plans and Land use permits have been granted to the BHA redevelopment, all completed, by the BRA without any Historic Battlefield research studies.  The BRA considers, a Charlestown Battlefield, Lost and Forgotten by the City of Boston and some Residents of Charlestown.  No BHA Historic Site research studies, No Archaeological research plans, authorized.  No ABPP report, enabled by federal legislation in 1996. No Historic Resources Preservation Plan approved by the City of Boston Civic Design Professionals.  Even under CPA, 2016 Community Preservation Legislation, voted by Boston Citizens, No Environmental Preservation was ever considered for this part of the Original Battlefield “Open Space” for the “Freedom Trail” Travelers. Such Preservation plans, reports and surveys are a required component of any Public Building Permit Plan Process under CPA, The BRA-BPDA, never acted, never concerned.  

Studies, especially for Historic Resources Public Open Space grounds, for BHA Public use Facilities, a “Battlefield Green” Historic resources Preservation Plan Study, was never completed or invoked by this BHA process, as part of the Public Record.  Where is the ABPP-NPS studies? Where are our Political Leaders?  A CNC, Charlestown Resident landmarks Commission with National Battlefield advisors, can restore the Balance of Housing and History on this site.  Is a Beacon Hill Historic District, more Qualified than a Bunker Hill Battlefield Historic District for the City of Boston?  The Battlefield of June 17th should have been the first Historic District, not the last Historic District, to be considered by MHC, since 1975 laws were established, for Boston

In this rush to approve BRA-BPDA Experimental Public Housing Planning, our Political, Cultural and Historical MHC Leaders have forgotten to properly study and honorably recollect this Historic National Battlefield, with every respect and Honor due to those who died and were buried in rough graves on this exact site, many in graves beneath our very homes.  A Visit to the BH Monument will fully describe the overwhelming involvement of the WHOLE Battlefield of “Charlestown Heights”, Naval and Field movements across all “Charlestown Heights” Peninsula, including the “Lost Village” Battlements. 

It is time to begin the Formal Process, before the 2025 anniversary, and establish the Whole Charlestown Heights National Historic Battlefield District, including the Lost Village and First British advance, now BHA Housing Development, into One Historic Charlestown landmarks District Commission under the CNC.  It is time, to make “One Charlestown”, “One Historic National Battlefield Landmarks District”, for the future.  

Write the CNC, P.O. Box 397, Charlestown, MA 02129.   If you think, after 75 years of Lost Historic Preservation Laws, by the BRA and City of Boston BLC, that it is time to support and reestablish this Lost opportunity for a Resident “Charlestown Heights” Battlefield Landmarks District Commission, for Charlestown, by the CNC, for 2025.  

If the City of Boston has Forgotten ALL this Historic Battle ground, since 1975, If the “City of Boston, BPDA will not act with honor and proper application, Charlestown Residents need to act and continue the Historic “Armed Forces Memorial” Preservation process for the future of this First Army Battlefield, Historic District, “Lest We Forget” the Battlefield, we sleep upon, for our Freedoms.

Don Haska

Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity

To the Editor,

Pier 5, the Head of Boston Harbor is the last open public waterfront destination along the Harborwalk. Many in the community are advocating that Pier 5 is developed into a much needed public greenspace, a living shoreline, a climate resiliency waterfront, as a place for all of the residents, visitors as well as Greater Boston and beyond as a destination to visit and enjoy the harbor activity.

Our online petition with close to 1700 signers and growing can be found at www.pier5.org. Please review some of the comments written by the signers. These are snapshots of what Pier 5 means to them. In addition, this site explores the history of this pier and gives the reader an appreciation to better understand the importance of preserving the pier now and for future generations.

As our nation just observed Memorial Day, one signer shared his thoughts, “Let’s keep Pier 5 as a public space, dedicated to the men and women who served and passed through the Navy Yard during the 170 years plus it served our community as a Navy Yard.”  What a thoughtful, timely, and appropriate statement, thank you to the writer.

There are many convincing, logical and profound comments, such as concerns about rising sea levels, climate change, as well as the desire for more open and greenspace in our community.

The community is speaking out and asking that Pier 5 remain as a public space.

Please visit our pop- up table site, “Restore Pier 5 for the Public” as we will be locating in different areas in the community with our petition, information and listening to your thoughts and concerns.

 Restore Pier 5 is hosting an informational gathering on the future of Pier 5, June 16th at 7:00 PM in the Navy Yard at the Flagship Plaza overlooking the pier. Restore Pier 5 seeks to preserve Pier 5, an historic structure situated at the Head of Boston Harbor, as a fully accessible, environmentally resilient, recreational and educational open public space. The gathering will include a presentation from Tom O’Neil of O’Neil and Associates on strategies for accessing financial resources to restore the pier and achieve an outcome beneficial to the community, city and state. All are invited without need for registration. Further detail is available at www.pier5.org.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to keep the Jewel of Boston Harbor as a public space for ALL to enjoy.  

Ann Kelleher

Thank You, Morrissey family

To the Editor,

I would like to thank the Morrissey family and the Duce Morrissey Scholarship fund for granting me the opportunity to finish my undergraduate career at a reduced cost, as it is a huge help to me and my family. This opportunity will forever serve as a reminder of what it truly means to come from Charlestown, and of how lucky I am to have grown up in such a generous and supportive community. In the spring of 2022, I will be graduating from the University of Maine, Orono with a degree in Psychology and a double minor in Neuroscience and Child Development & Family Relations. I plan to pursue my graduate degree in the field of Child Life, in hopes of eventually working as a certified Child Life Specialist in one of Boston’s many major hospitals.  

Kaley Kyle

Preserve the ‘Forgotten’ Battlefield

To the Editor,

With Memorial Day fresh on our minds and Bunker Hill Day approaching, it is time to consider the “forgotten” section of the battlefield of June 17, 1775.  Namely, the area north of Breed’s Hill – above what is now Bunker Hill Street and extending to the shore of the Mystic River – an area which is now slated for large-scale private redevelopment.  All along that pivotal section of the battlefield, American troops formed defensive positions behind a long rail fence and in columns on the beach where they successfully repulsed a flanking maneuver by British light infantry companies and grenadiers that had landed at Moulton’s Point. This section of the battlefield has been swept away by real estate development, first with the construction of row housing in the 1850s, then with eminent domain by the City of Boston in the 1940s to make way for the public housing development in the 1970s, and now with the transfer of the massive parcel by our city to a private developer.

At no time has any federal, state, or city agency stepped in to consider preserving any measure of the land as an open green space commemoration or as a “battlefield district” under the federal American Battlefield Protection Program or under any Massachusetts Historic Commission regulations.  The City’s BRA-BPDA should have (but did not) prepare a Historic Battlefield Preservation report with the Boston Landmarks Commission as part of the Boston Housing Authority’s original permitting process. The Boston Landmarks Commission also omitted to include that section of the battlefield in an “Open Green Space” resources report with the National Park Service under the American Battlefield Protection Program.  These steps should have and would have triggered some form of open green space commemoration on the land between Bunker Hill and Medford Streets and the shore of the Mystic River.

It is not too late to correct these omissions now that this 27-acre parcel is again to be redeveloped.  The National Park Service, the Massachusetts Historic Commission, and the Charlestown Neighborhood Council should jointly undertake a historic study of our “forgotten” battlefield in order to establish the parcel as a National Historic Battlefield District.  The hope is that some section of the redeveloped parcel can be set aside and preserved as an open green space commemoration for those who died fighting the British on that fateful day.  Otherwise, our “forgotten” battlefield will be lost forever.

Jonathan D. Sweet

Thank You, Old Schoolboys!

To the Editor,

Thank you for awarding me The John Boyle O’Reilly scholarship. This scholarship will help me as I continue my studies at SUNY Maritime College and seek a commission in the US Navy upon graduation. 

Thank you!

Jeremy Shea 

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