When growing up I never felt a connection to Ireland. A few of my friends were 2nd generation and I loved going to their houses, and learning. I was, and will always be an American. My family is a non traditional military family. Lots of service, but little talk of it. My grandfather on my mother’s side and his brother were in WWII. My grandfather as a Navy officer, his brother Marine enlisted.
When the war ended my grandfather got out, his brother stayed in through the Viet Nam war. Incredible men, both of them. My uncle joined the USMC in the early 1950s to find opportunity. Opportunity was scarce in Dorchester at the time. He did his tour and got out. My father was drafted into the Army during Viet Nam. All of his friends from Dorchester were drafted. He stayed stateside the whole time he was enlisted, something he felt tremendous relief and guilt for. When I was old enough, I joined the USMC, did my time and got out. I felt it was an obligation to give back.
My brother is the historian of the family, has a wonderful library that I both contribute to and borrow from. He lent me this book and it is a really wonderful condensed history of Ireland and the struggles. I read Trinity by Leon Uris, and countless others. It made me appreciate my heritage, and my true home, the United States even more. It is a shame now how the history of the struggles of the Irish people is being wiped away, like the history of all white cultures. Their struggles with war and famine relegated to the back shelves of history. Everyone suffers, it is life. Below is a pretty good article concerning a professor who tried to downplay the animus toward Irish immigrants. Enjoy the reading!