Persuading the U.S. Naval Academy that Commodore John Barry, a gallant son of Ireland and the “Father of the American Navy,” deserved a visible presence worthy of his stature should have been a no-brainer.
It wasn’t. In fact, for proponents of the it turned into a bit of a slog, with one rejection after another. John McInerney and Jack O’Brien, members of the Washington, D.C. Ancient Order of Hibernians, led the charge. With help from many supporters, including the Philadelphia Irish Center/Commodore Barry Club, the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, the Philadelphia AOH, and the Commodore Barry Club of Brooklyn, the memorial eventually became a reality.
To thank Philly-area project supporters, Jack O’Brien presented a copy of the official U.S. Navy portrait of Commodore Barry to the Irish Center in a ceremony Wednesday.
Here’s our video from the ceremony.