No man possessed a greater love for our city, and his dedicated life in service to Boston and her people changed the face of the city.
— Martin J. Walsh, Mayor of Boston
October 30, 2014
Author: Laura McCaughey, Senior Director, Corporate Marketing, NaviNet Inc.
The first time I remember seeing Mayor Thomas Michael Menino’s name was when it appeared on a giant sign at Government Center welcoming the 1999 Major League Baseball All-Stars to Boston for the July 13, 1999, game. Mark McGuire, Nomar Garciaparra, Cal Ripken, Jr., Randy Johnson, and Tony Gwynn were just some of the greats that graced Fenway Park during that game. We had just moved to the North End from Manhattan and felt a long way from home.
I would see Mayor Menino many times over the years because he was everywhere: Hanover Street, at baseball games, and giving speeches at high school graduations. The last time I saw him was on November 25, 2013, during the annual lighting of the Christopher Columbus Park’s 260-foot trellis. It was brutally cold, with the wind whipping up off the harbor, but when the mayor spoke and 50,000 blue lights lit up against the black sky, it was magical.
I edged closer to the television cameras near the mayor to be able to say thank you for the past 14 years:
- For the many hours spent in the gorgeous parks and sports fields throughout the city—and for all of the friends we have made sitting on the sidelines and on bleachers in rain, sleet, and snow.
- For the outdoor movies that have delighted and given us an opportunity to pack a picnic and spend time together.
- For the swimming pools that echo with laughter and whoops of joy as generations enjoy lemon ices on hot summer days.
- For the Boston public school opportunities that are second to none in our country.
- For access to so many of the nation’s leading healthcare delivery organizations, the top-ranked Massachusetts General Hospital only minutes away.
As I shook hands with Mayor Menino, I thanked him for giving my children the extraordinary experience to have grown up in the North End and to have attended Boston Latin School (three) and Boston Latin Academy (one). Instead of just saying, “You’re welcome,” and moving on to the next person, he proceeded to ask where they were now, telling me that his granddaughter attended Boston Latin School. He chatted about family, life in the North End, and Italian food specialties as though we were old friends…the way he apparently spoke with everyone he met.