Walking the Walk and Talking the Talk

To the Editor, As I glanced at the morning’s local newspaper [September 3, 2021], the headline shouted out, “Swamped and Stunned”. It only took a few seconds to reimagine the Blizzard of 78 and the headline in my head would have been, ”Swamped, Stunned and Stranded”. After finishing my nursing shift at the Mass General late afternoon on the 6th of February 1978, I was anxious to get home, catch up with the family, have dinner and settle in to watch a movie on TV. Before long with no warning, our house on Revere Beach was surrounded by water, we were trapped. Trapped not just for one evening but for the next four days, as the tides came in and went out. The only moving activity were the sea gulls, Army and rescue vehicles. How could this happen? Mother Nature really does rule as the confluence of a full moon and high tides came together, unpredicted and catching everyone by surprise,  What came as a surprise in this week’s Charlestown Patriot Bridge, is the headline, “Decorated veterans join Charlestown residents in opposition to a Pier 5 park.”  One of the proposals is advocating for a few units of housing be dedicated to the veterans. A few units of housing for a few veterans? What about the rest of the veterans and the general population? Where are they to go and enjoy the harbor, greenspace and the peacefulness that we all crave? Coming from a family of veterans, I am always in awe of our servicewoman and men who have dedicated their lives for this country. I was privileged to volunteer as a Red Cross nurse in the early 70’s at RAF Lakenheath Hospital as my drafted husband served his tour of duty in England. It was always humbling and an honor to care for and listen to our service folks. It is still rewarding as I have not always been far away from the veterans. Whether it be a homeless shelter, soup kitchen, a local park, or random encounters here and there. It’s always gratifying that they share such personal and remarkable stories and I think, it’s made me a better person. Would I be so foolish to advocate for any of my family, veterans or anyone to be a resident of Pier 5? NO! Why would I advocate for anyone to be in harm’s way? Why are there proposals to put any type of residences on Pier 5? Where is the commonsense from the Boston Planning and Development Agency to even entertain any residences on this Pier?  I can only surmise that a waterfront park, greenspace or climate resilient body is not a money maker. It’s time for this disingenuous chapter of the BPDA to stop and do what’s best for the community, veterans, and visitors. It’s also time for the BPDA to stop using the poor excuse that there is no money or too costly of a repair for a waterfront park.  Decades of collecting millions of dollars after every sale and resale in the Navy Yard, begs the questions.  Where is the money? Why wasn’t the decaying Pier 5 addressed and fixed in a timely fashion? It seems like a gravy train that gives back to the BPDA over and over again, and then some. The only residents on Pier 5 should be the seagulls and other birds as they can make a fast getaway when the flood waters appear, and they will. I was witness to this. I can talk the talk as I have walked the walk and watched as the sea gulls and other birds flew off to safety while us humans coped and tried to put our lives back together, as we are now witnessing across this nation. Our petition. Pier5.org is now in Spanish and Chinese and we are happy to report over 3000 and counting signers, Thank- you to this community and beyond for your support, we will not let you down.  Can we all please sit down at the table, work together and correct past mistakes for the 20,000 residents, 500,000 visitors and countless veterans that are deserving of a place of honor at this historical site?   Ann Kelleher

Letters to the Editor