In March of 1991, the U.S. Congress designated March as Irish American Heritage Month. This was a proud moment for the many Irish whose ancestors had to fight stereotypes and prejudice to find acceptance in the United States.
This month, as we celebrate the life of Saint Patrick, the beloved Apostle of Ireland, we also celebrate the hardy character, the rich cultural heritage and the many valuable contributions of Irish Americans.
By 1776, some 300,000 Irish citizens had emigrated to the United States. Many of these courageous individuals played crucial roles in America’s War for Independence.
Throughout history, the Irish brogue was heard within our nations police departments, fire departments and military services. The Irish would take on the dangerous jobs others did not want. Although discriminated against, we overcame. In my home still hangs a sign: “Help Wanted No Irish Need Apply.”
As my grandfather on my mother’s side used to say, spend one weekend as an Irishman and you will never want to be anything but Irish the rest of your life. We know what a great night of friends, family and fun can mean to one’s spirit and well-being.
This March, if you are not of Irish descent, spend an evening with your Irish friends. Help us celebrate the heritage, contributions and have some fun with us; it will do you some good.
- William Harvey, Appomattox