Wearing a green tie in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, Mayor Martin J. Walsh stood on the steps outside Boston City Hall on Monday and joked that the fete at hand would go on.
“There was going to be no press conference about banning St. Patrick’s Day,’’ joked the mayor, apparently referring to the standoff over whether gay veterans could march openly in the annual South Boston parade held Sunday.
“We are going to keep St. Patrick’s Day,’’ Walsh said.
A stiff wind at his back, the mayor 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 loudspeaker, the mayor watched as the Irish flag was raised and a youth dance troupe from Brighton and Roxbury performed Irish step dancing, some with a hip-hop flare.
The celebration was in honor of Evacuation Day, when British forces departed after the siege of Boston during the Revolutionary War. It is also the day set aside to pay tribute to St. Patrick.
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 thread extends to the richness and diversity found in the people of Boston, Walsh said.
The mayor 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.
“But also Bostonians from all backgrounds share these same connections in our city.”
globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @meghanirons.