chapter  1
7 Pages

A Story About Place: Joe Moakley’s Funeral

At ground zero, the most striking aspect of Joe Moakley’s funeral drama was the sheer amount and scope of interest in it. The new Republican president came. The previous Democratic president and his vice president came. The Republican speaker and the Democratic minority leader of the House came. From seven o’clock in the morning till late afternoon, the city’s three major television stations provided live coverage of the day’s activities-“an epic electronic requiem for a heavyweight,” in the words of a media analyst.1 For four days, commentary and remembrances filled the pages of Boston’s two major newspapers. An unusual degree of national press coverage, too, was attracted to the occasion. It was as if a national hero had been lost. And the drama suggested that the “What was he like?” question would require a national-level answer.