Donning a green tie in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, Mayor Martin J. Walsh stood on the steps outside Boston City Hall today and joked that there was no suspense about the fate of this popular holiday.
“There was going to be no press conference about banning St. Patrick’s Day,’’ joked the mayor, apparently referring to the controversial standoff over whether a group of gay veterans could march openly in the annual South Boston parade held on Sunday.
“We are going to keep St. Patrick’s Day,’’ said Walsh.
With a stiff wind at his back, the mayor, who had pressed unsuccessfully for the gay veterans to be included, seemed to take the end of the controversy in stride as he faced a crowd on City Hall plaza.
As Celtic music blared from a loud speaker, the mayor watched as the Irish flag was raised. A youth dance troupe from Brighton and Roxbury performed Irish step dance moves – some with a hip-hop flare.
Today is the day set aside to pay tribute to St. Patrick, a missionary, bishop, and patron saint of Ireland. It’s also Evacuation Day, the day the British forces left after the siege of Boston in the Revolutionary War.
In his brief remarks, Walsh evoked John F. Kennedy, saying the former president often spoke of an emerald thread running through the history of the Irish and their descendants around the world.
That pattern is reflected in the richness and diversity in the people of Boston, Walsh said.
Walsh spoke of his own parents, who emigrated from Ireland in the mid-1950s, and the traditions they cherished in their home.
“I’m very honored to be here today and to celebrate the connections between the Irish community and the Boston community,’’ Walsh said.