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posted: 2/2/2014 5:00 AM

Washington praised contributions of Irish

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February Is the month we honor the memory of our first president. It is appropriate to remember some of George Washington's words. These are some he spoke in gratitude and encouragement for the Irish.

"Ireland, thou friend of my country in my country's most friendless days, much injured, much enduring land, accept this poor tribute from one who esteems thy worth, and mourns thy desolation. May the God of Heaven, in His justice and mercy, grant thee more prosperous fortunes, and in His own time, cause the sun of Freedom to shed its benign radiance on the Emerald Isle."

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Washington spoke no empty words. Irish, driven out of Ireland as victims of England's cruelty, were the immigrants Washington cited when he said: "When our friendless standards were first unfurled, who were the strangers who first mustered around our staff, and when it reeled in the fight, who more brilliantly sustained it than Erin's generous sons?"

In addition, Washington's adopted son, George Washington Parke Custis, wrote: " ... In the War of Independence, Ireland furnished one hundred men for every single man furnished by any other nation, let America bear eternal gratitude to Irishmen."

These quotes may not be available in most American history books, for various reasons, but they provide food for thought around Washington's Birthday.

Robert E. West


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