Today, in Miami, the Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing on the contributions of immigrants to the United States Armed Forces.
The Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform,. including Irish-born Gulf War Veteranss, will be there to make sure the continuing contribution of Irish immigrants to the U.S. military is not forgotten.
In March 2005, President George W. Bush, issued a proclamation which read, in part,"The story of the Irish in America is an important part of the history of our country... Americans of Irish descent... have shaped our Nation and influenced American life.
Long before the great wave of Irish immigration in the 1840s, people of Irish ancestry were defining and defending our Nation. Charles Thomson, an Irishman by birth, served as Secretary of the Continental Congress and helped design the Great Seal of the United States.
Irish-born Commodore John Barry fought for our country's independence and later helped found the United States Navy.
Irish Americans have been leaders in our public life, and they have retained a proud reverence for their heritage. In June 1963, President John F. Kennedy spoke to the Parliament in Dublin and told the story of the Irish Brigade, a regiment that fought valiantly for the Union and suffered terrible losses during the Civil War.
Two decades after President Kennedy's visit, President Ronald Reagan returned to his great grandfather's hometown in County Tipperary, Ireland, and greeted the crowd in their own Irish language. The industry, talent, and imagination of Irish Americans have enriched our commerce and our culture. Their strong record of public service has fortified our democracy. Their strong ties to family, faith, and community have strengthened our Nation's character. The Irish are a significant reason why Americans will always be proud to call ourselves a Nation of immigrants."
The Irish and Irish-American contribution to the United States Armed Services is unquestioned. Over two hundred recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor were born in Ireland, and scores of others were the children and grand children of Irish immigrants. Five of the nineteen double-recipients of the Medal of Honor were born in Ireland, three were Irish-American. The rich history of the Irish contribution to the military is shown in the history of units like the Fighting 69th. The Father of the United States Navy was born in Ireland. The inventor of the submarine was born in Ireland. An Irishman was at the "Shores of Tripoli" with the USMC and the first mascot of Parris Island was not a British Bulldog, but an Irish Terrier named Mike.
Don''t lock out the Irish. Legalize the Irish!