Today we celebrate all things Irish, in honor of St. Patrick. And in honor and memory of the Americans who have Irish blood in their family tree. So many citizens today can trace a part of their roots to the sturdy Irish immigrants who came to America for reasons as varied as the people themselves, including survival during the potato famine of the mid-1800’s. One million Irish left their country during this time of starvation and disease, and another one million perished.
Being Irish is a source of pride among many Americans, especially on St. Patrick’s Day. But it certainly has not always been that way. The Irish were scorned and downtrodden for many years in their new country. The Chicago Post wrote, “The Irish fill our prisons, our poor houses…Scratch a convict or a pauper, and the chances are that you tickle the skin of an Irish Catholic. Putting them on a boat and sending them home would end crime in this country.”
However, the Irish people were strong, hard workers and filled with faith, and over time they proved what an asset their “coming to America” was to this country. Through the years there have been immigrants from other countries who came to America, worked hard, and made their place in their new home. And this continues today – the coming, the prejudice, the hard work, the assimilation, for people from around the world.
But today we wear the green, dance a jig, raise a glass, and whistle a tune in honor of our Irish ancestors and friends, who have done so much to make America a fine home – for all of us.