The United States of America might very well not exist without the help of its Irish immigrants. As much as half of the Continental Army were of Irish decent or were Irish themselves. Almost 1500 of its officers were of Irish decent. That included 26 generals. In 1780, George Washington gave his army one day off during the year. The day was St. Patrick’s Day. John Barry, the first flag officer of the United States Navy, was Irish.
Eight signers of the Declaration of Independence were Irish. Charles Carroll, a Catholic of Irish decent, was the longest surviving signer of the Declaration at the time of his death in 1832. At may have been the wealthiest person in the colonies when he signed the Declaration. Carroll was trained in France as both an academic and a lawyer. Although there Catholics were prohibited from holding office or voting, Carroll became actively involved in the struggle for independence. He served on the Maryland Committee of Safety, Maryland Provincial Congress, Board of War, and was the first Senator from Maryland. He wrote a series of letters published under the pseudonym of “First Citizen” in response to Daniel Dulany in the Maryland Gazette. Mr. Dulany’s pseudonym was “Antilon.”
During his radio broadcast in March 1945, Walter Winchell said, “You can’t strike the American Flag without expecting to get hit back by some Irishman. The nation will be standing at attention when the Irish wear green in their lapels for old Ireland on the 17th of March, because so many, many thousands of Irishmen are wearing the green, on their graves, for America.”
Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you whether you are of Irish decent yourself, or you are planning to raise a glass in honor of those who have served in all of America’s battles for freedom. The attached image was taken in Mammoth Cave National Park which is located in Kentucky’s Green River Valley. The cave system is more than 365 miles (that has been explored thus far), and is thought to be the longest in the world.