Beep. [lots of air traffic overhead]
I had heard about the death of my uh, four friends uh, quite innocently from a grammar school teacher that had wrote a letter uh, sayin' that she had her kids in her room sayin' a prayer for me and for all the other guys that were over there. And she just happened to mention that she was sorry to hear about the other four guys that uh, from our corner that had gotten killed.
And uh, I wrote home to my parents and asked them what what happened, what's goin' on, that they never said anything about it, and as it turned out they were dead four to five months before I'd even heard about it. And their response was quite natural, is that they didn't want me to be upset. They didn't want me to do anything foolish. Uh, and they were just concerned at that time for me.
Uh, when I did learn of it, it was a, it was a big loss. Uh, you know, these kids – when you grow up on a corner and you get to know the guys and you become brothers. And it was like losing a brother, but you had to keep your your perspective as far as what you had goin' on at the time, and if you kind of let that get to you, you could get hurt yourself.
Plus the fact is that you weren't home to see the grief and the sorrow that was going on with the families, which is the hardest part. So, even though they were gone, you know, you knew in your heart you'd never see them again. But it didn't really hit you as hard because you weren't home to to be with your family and their families.
So, it wasn't actually till I got home and actually back on the corner again with the old crowd that it really really started to sink in that uh Johnny, Joe, Donny and uh, Frankie weren't coming home. It was, it was...it was that simple. But it it didn't hit home till we got home.
And that's how I got involved with the memorial. We uh, we got a group of guys together and we had a memorial mass, and their families were so appreciative of what was actually being done for for them, not so much the guys that had died, but for the families it was important that they know that their friends and the people in the neighborhood miss their sons and still love them. And and I think that's how the memorial got started.
It's that we just wanted to let all the families know in South Boston
that uh even though you didn't know every guy individually that's on the stone, he was still from South Boston
, he was part of the town, and you just want to let his family know that he is missed and he's loved by all the guys. And, that's how we got started, and uh, as it turned out it was uh, something the parents uh, have come to really appreciate and can feel at ease now that uh, it's here and they have some place to come.