Some years back the Boston Globe carried a humorous essay  from someone who “carried the picture of Ireland on his face”. Well, Ireland is not on my face, except for a smile today.

More. . .

It is in my name.

And so, I was delighted to hear that a small glimmer of hope may be growing in that country of my heritage: The IRA has announced that its armed campaign is over. Its arms are to be dumped, and members of the IRA are to engage solely in peaceful activities.  This represents a promise that is quite serious in its implications, and which, if broken, will only further those centuries of hatred. Few of us in America understand how persons can be writing “Remember 1690” on building murals in today.

However, on this soft morning, I think of my mother’s great grandfather, a Catholic, but bearing a name considered Protestant, who left at age 16 to come to the U.S. I think he’d be pleased.  As would my father’s 3g-grandfather, who bore a very Catholic name, but was Protestant to the core. I’m sure he would be pleased also, if more than a bit wary.

It is a problem that U. S. citizens do not have a long memory of past mistakes, hurts, evils, and bad decisions. The Irish, however, show the opposite side, how long memory kindles hatred in the hearts of those who should remain uncontaminated. Perhaps a few more of those small children in Northern Ireland will have a chance to grow up without hating other children who also bear the imprint of Ireland on their faces.

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