Charlie Griffin’s been a police officer for 32 years and you can find him more often than not working a detail at Shaw’s on State Street. He is also a Marine Corps veteran who served in the late 1970s and 1980s and still gets together annually on the anniversary of the Marine Corps’ birthday — Nov. 10, 1775 — to honor the bond of the Corps and remember comrades like Bradley J. Campus who was killed with fellow Marines 35 years ago in Lebanon.
It only takes a second to spot Griffin in the Nov. 9, 1983, Item photograph of Marine pallbearers escorting Campus’ body. The look of resolution so clear on Griffin’s face that day still surfaces when he talks about the Marine Corps.
It’s fascinating and probably difficult for most of us who are not veterans to contemplate young people who embrace the danger and adventure of the military, not knowing the sights they will see, ones that will remain clear in their minds decades after their service to our country ends.
Even though 35 years have come and gone, Griffin and other Marines like Darryl Bradley and Joe Cafarelli made it a point this week to remember Bradley Campus for a reason that Griffin summed up succinctly: “We wouldn’t have anything but for veterans.”
It was great seeing Juan Gonzalez and his daughter walking down Wheeler Street the other day. There is something magical and uplifting about parents and children who share a closeness and common interests to the point where the sum of their combined talents make for a whole that is greater than its parts. I felt the same way three weeks ago when I walked my daughter down the aisle and thought of her simultaneously as that little girl I love and that adult woman for whom I have immense respect. Juan and I are very lucky.
Speaking of veterans, it makes me happy to see the new space set aside for veterans in the North Shore Community College addition located near the late Thomas W. McGee’s photograph in the campus lobby. I still think the courtyard facing Broad Street won’t be complete until a statue of McGee striding along Immortality’s road is located in its center.
I’m also happy to see that the new building under construction on the corner of Portland and Broad streets bears a resemblance to the historic building that burned down on that site in January.
Sunday is the 40th anniversary of Jimmy Carter’s visit to Lynn and an Item story on the visit said Carter was the first president since Calvin Coolidge in 1923 to stop in the city. McGee, of course, had a big hand in making the presidential appearance possible and newlyweds James and Maureen Mahoney Adams got a big surprise when Carter stopped by the Colonial Country Club to greet them enroute to a fundraising event.
The Blizzard of ’78 gave Nahant residents more than their fair share of memories but the town that year also saw a political coup of sorts when the “Save Our Schools” movement ousted no fewer than three incumbent School Committee members.
Does anyone remember a taxi driver named Nate Dulong who was credited with saving the lives of Mall Street residents during a Feb. 6, 1978, fire? Ditto the Harbour House formerly on the Lynnway where 170 sailors from a dry-docked destroyer lived while their ship was under repair.