Gov. Brian Schweitzer of Montana is to visit Waterford to participate in this year’s 1848 Tricolor Celebrations.
Thomas Francis Meagher, one of Waterford’s most famous sons, first displayed the green, white and orange flag in 1848. The colors were meant to symbolize harmony between the green of the Catholics and the orange of the Protestants.
Meagher was a founder of the Young Ireland movement in 1845. He received the nickname “Meagher of the Sword” after he urged his countrymen to arm themselves and fight the British a few years later.
Meager led the Irish Brigade in the US Civil War and was later governor of the Montana territory
The invitation extended to Schweitzer came after the Irish tricolor was flown over the State Capitol during last year’s 1848 Tricolor Celebration ceremony.
The chairman of the 1848 Tricolor Committee felt the invitation was only appropriate after such a gesture.
“We were absolutely thrilled with the recognition the State of Montana has given to our celebrations here in Waterford and we wanted to thank them in an appropriate fashion,” said Cian Foley, according to Journal.ie.
“We felt that inviting the Governor as a special honored guest would be the best way to do that.”
Meagher was a leader during the Young Ireland Rebellion at the Battle of Ballingarry in Tipperary in 1848.
He was caught and sentenced to death for sedition, but this was later changed to exile in Australia. The resourceful Irishman escaped and arrived in the United States in 1852.
There, he joined the Civil War and became Brigadier-General of the Irish Brigade of the Union Army.
After the Civil War, Meagher was Secretary of the new Montana Territory and served as acting Governor. He went overboard during a steamboat trip on the Missouri river in 1867 and was never seen again.
A gravestone honoring the patriot was unveiled in at the Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn in 2009.