Recalling the Lessons of History

Remembering the martyrs.

Remembering the martyrs.

It was 93 years ago, long enough so that you might suppose the Easter Rising to be largely forgotten.

Suppose again.

This past Sunday, a group of local Irish and Irish-Americans gathered, as they always do, at the graveside of Philadelphia’s Joseph McGarrity, lifelong physical force republican and ardent fund-raiser for the cause of Irish freedom.

Things are better in the North now, as most people seem willing to admit, but in this group the separateness of the British outpost still grates. Unity is still the goal.

So they marched to that headstone, and they recalled the long-ago words of Pearse on that day in 1916:

Having organised and trained her manhood through her secret revolutionary organisation, the Irish Republican Brotherhood, and through her open military organisations, the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army, having patiently perfected her discipline, having resolutely waited for the right moment to reveal itself, she now seizes that moment, and, supported by her exiled children in America and by gallant allies in Europe, but relying in the first on her own strength, she strikes in full confidence of victory.

Victory didn’t come as quickly or in precisely the form as many would have liked. Some would argue that the job is still not done. But clearly, in Philadelphia the 1916 sacrifice won’t be soon forgotten.

  • View video of the procession.
  • View video of the ceremony.
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