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A day of remembrance

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The monument to the Irish soldiers who died in the Korean War while serving in the United States armed forces

The monument to the Irish soldiers who died in the Korean War while serving in the United States armed forces

The monument to the Irish soldiers who died in the Korean War while serving in the United States armed forces[/caption]

By Ray O’Hanlon
rohanlon@irishecho.com

As the years roll by the number of people and events to commemorate grows.

Once upon a time, in a more innocent world, there was no 9/11 to remember.

It will, of course, be remembered this year.

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And also this year, there will be an extra missing man to remember.

When the members and friends of the Brooklyn Irish American Parade Committee gather this Saturday at historic Green-Wood Cemetery in the borough’s Sunset Park, the name of John Leahy will be read out.

Leahy died, aged 87, in November of last year.

Leahy’s name is not included on the granite headstone commemorating the Irish Korean War heroes.
That’s because he survived the war, and his distinguished service in it as a sergeant of artillery.

John’s heroism long outlasted the war.

And it would evolve into the form of it that doesn’t show itself under literal fire.

John Leahy’s heroism was a mix of several things: a rock strong personality, Kerry pride, Irish stubbornness, and a burning desire to make sure that the young Irishmen who never returned from “The Forgotten War” would never themselves be forgotten.

And so their posthumous American citizenship, bestowed by Congress in 2003.

And so the monument stone in Green-Wood which will be surrounded on Saturday by parade committee members taking part in their annual Irish Patriots Day and Heritage Trail outing to the leafy resting place of over 600,000 souls.

Those assembled will first attend a 12 Noon Mass in Green-Wood Chapel where they will remember the heroes and victims of 9/11, and also pay tribute to others who have stood for right against wrong in times of famine and war.

After Mass there will be the commemoration ceremony and wreath laying at the headstone.
The wreath will include two green ribbons: one for the Korean War dead, the other for John Leahy, said the committee’s Kathleen McDonagh.

The roll of honor will be called, John Leahy’s name now added to it.

After the ceremony, members will tour familiar resting places, including the grave of Matilda Tone, wife of Theobald Wolfe Tone.

The Irish of America’s Civil War and of Ireland’s own struggle for freedom will also be remembered as the day progresses.

And at the end of it there will be a sense of time well and properly spent.

John Leahy would for sure agree with that.

 

 

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