Townie Tidbits


The news last week in the Charlestown Patriot on students losing an opportunity to participate in JROTC, an activity with positive outcomes for some many graduating students. Scholarships to colleges and the potential for a military career are only a part of this program.

Every year in neighborhood parades, these young men and women proudly march in uniform across the city representing their high schools and commuinity. This school program builds skills necessary in their futures. It isn’t just about wearing a uniform or marching in a unit. It is about working with others. JROTC is about understanding how to work together for common goals.  When ever I see a ROTC unit in a park I see young people finding what the word interdependent is all about.

I am so sad that those students at Charlestown High will lose a valuable resource in their young lives. I am sorry that not enough kids there understand what this program is all about and how it benefits everyone who joins up.

  For now it does appear that the JROTC program will be leaving. Hopefully, it will return. It is now time for the school administration to work together with the students who were in the program to find out ways to encourage more students to join up.

The United States Air Force surely hates seeing this program shutdown, especially when it is so needed in today’s high schools across the country.

 When I was attending Boston English back in the Sixties, there was no ROTC but Boston›s public schools did have a tradition preceding ROTC dating back to my dad›s day. I was a proud member of what most students called the Boston English Army. One day a week we had drill and al of us dressed up in Army uniforms. I always thought with my black rimmed glasses that I was a look alike for Sqt. Bilko. If you know who Bilko was, you’re old like me. Another day every week, we took military science too.

The Boston Public Schools realized why military science and drill were important along with the teaching of civics.

 Last year and the year prior, I marched in Boston’s Veterans Day parade in Downtown Boston and most of the city high schools’ ROTC units proudly marched. whenever, I cover a parade, I always make sure I take a photo of the Charlestown , East Boston and Boston English marching units because I feel a special connection to all three schools.

 As I look at their faces I see accomplishment, I see drive, I see young men and women maturing in life. To those who don’t understand this, I can’t help you. However, I know how important this program means to students who take advantage of it.

 The people of Charlestown the site of the Battle of Bunker Hill should work together themselves as a unit to make the Air Force JROTC program a reality again in Charlestown.

 Building self esteem builds character and gives kids something g special in their lives. Keeps them out of trouble and helps keep many from getting addicted to bad stuff.

Keeping young people on the straight and narrow needs al of us and things like JROTC too. It is too important to be kicked out of school.


Last Friday night, I was over at the Knights for a fundraiser for the parade hosted by Danny and Kathleen Noonan. Danny is this year›s chief marshal and wants this to be the best parade ever. Everyone came and everyone seemed to know each other›s name because Charlestown is like Cheers especially when it comes to Charlestown›s holiday.

 The party was great with live music by Ivory Soul. If you closed your eyes, Dennis Taylor and the band were great to hear. Danny and the band could have been The Trammps doing “Disco Inferno” or Lakeside doing “Fantastic Voyage.” Danny, himself sounded like Jerry Butler or George Benson with his booming voice.

The hall was a great mix of young and old. There’s a new generation getting involved in the parade. Each learning from the other.


While attending the Bunker Hill Day Parade fundraiser hosted by Danny Noonan at the Knights I bumped into Tommy White who let me know I called Boston›s fire commissioner “Joe Flynn”  instead of Joe Finn in my piece on the new fire boat named after Father Dan Mahoney.  Even I make mistakes. Thank you Tommy. Sorry Joe. I can’t guarantee it won’t happen again with someone else’s name but I will try very hard to catch mistakes before you do.

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