In 1930, the American Legion convention shook Boston to the marrow of its Brahmin bones. The car-tipping and bonfires, the water-bombs zooming from windows had moved the Harvard Crimson to shudder, "worse than a drunken football crowd." Local rowdies helped tear up the town in the boozy wake of World War I Legionnaires.

Last week Boston winced again. This time the Veterans of Foreign Wars, zipped up by young bloods of World War II, turned Tremont Street into a topsy-turvy midway. As before, bonfires blazed and city-bred hoodlums filtered through the chaos...

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