The millions of Irish men and women, and their descendants, who have served in armed forces of other countries are to be honoured for the first time by the Irish Veterans organisation.
Irish people and those of Irish descent have served in every significant conflict for at least the last 1,000 years and many continue to serve in overseas armies today, according to Irish Veterans. Sadly, their stories and contributions have largely gone unrecognised or ignored, and nowhere on the island of Ireland is their input collectively acknowledged.
Irish Veterans is a registered not-for-profit founded by Irish veterans (including veterans of Irish heritage), academics and veterans’ family members. It aims to unite and create a global community for all military veterans who identify as Irish.
Irish Veterans is raising funds to establish a permanent memorial and research exhibition centre in Kinsale, Co Cork, to commemorate those who served and tell their stories. They are actively seeking members to join them.
The first 5000 life members will be considered founding members, whose names will be engraved on a permanent plaque in the research exhibition centre.
James Sikora, joint executive director of Irish Veterans, himself an Irishman who served in the US Army, said: “It is incredible that the service and sacrifice of so many thousands of Irish people has gone unrecognised for so long. We need to ensure their sacrifices are never forgotten.”
“We are now enrolling our first 5,000 life members, so that our goal of building a permanent memorial to our comrades can be achieved in the next two years. This will be a veterans’ organisation with a difference, as our members are part of a global group of people who strongly identify with serving in the military, and having Irish roots. This is about connecting the Irish veterans who are still amongst us, and honouring those who are not,” he said.
Among the Irish Veterans’ US ambassadors is Dan Murphy. Dan is himself a combat-wounded Veteran of Vietnam and is the father of US Navy SEAL LT Michael P. Murphy, Medal of Honor, who was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2005, and whose story was depicted in the film Lone Survivor.
“We are delighted to support Irish Veterans in this worthwhile endeavour. In the Navy SEAL special operations community, our son Michael was known as the ‘fiery Irishman from New York’ and his Irish heritage had a very large impact on his persona and strong character. I am very proud to be named an ambassador for this important organisation and look forward to honouring my son’s memory and the memory of other Irish veterans by telling their story and commemorating them,” said Dan.
“We are appealing to people across the world with Irish connections to be part of this unique project as a way to connect with their peers and to honour those who have gone before them. This is Irish Veterans’first fundraising drive, and all support is hugely important and greatly appreciated,” added James Sikora.
Irish Veterans is currently funded entirely through membership fees and donations.
To join Irish Veterans or to donate, please go to www.irishveterans.org