An American Legion post in Ireland wants every US veteran buried in Ireland to be honored with a headstone that recognizes their service.
Members of the JFK Post IR 63 of the American Legion in Ireland say it’s high time their departed comrades were given the recognition they deserved.
Post Commander Liam Kane told IrishCentral, “Many soldiers who served in the US Army are buried in Ireland and we feel it is our duty to make sure the grave has a proper marker.”
Although Irish-born, Kane emigrated to America whilst young and served in the US Army after he was drafted during the 1960s and his story's a common one among the Legion members.
“Our membership roster contains several combat veterans of the Vietnam war,” he said.
Post Adjutant John Flood - a US Air Force veteran - recently attended the month’s mind mass of Brian Muldoon, who was conscripted into the military whilst in America during the 1960s.
Originally from Ardee, Co Louth, Muldoon left Ireland in the early 60s and served in the US Army but left in 1966 before the Vietnam War began to claim the lives of large numbers of servicemen and women. He married his American girlfriend, May, and brought her back to Ireland where he became a well-known publican.
When their two sons and daughter grew old enough to ask about his life in America he told them without hesitation that it had been the making of him.
“He always spoke about his time in the service and the things it taught him. He said to his son Tom that had he not been in the American Army he never would have had the discipline and whatnot to start his own business.”
Brian passed away in November and now his family and the Legion think his headstone should honor the service he gave to America.
As to how many other US veterans are buried in Ireland, Flood cannot say.
“That’s a mystery number to us,” he admits.
The US Embassy in Dublin records the numbers of families who request military involvement at burials but the American Legion thinks plenty die without involving US authorities. This is particularly the case for Irish-born veterans whose family might be less aware of their rights and privileges when organizing burials.
The Legion hopes to spread awareness and is particularly keen to erect permanent markers on the graves of 15 veterans interned in unmarked graves by Memorial Day 2018.
Each marker costs $75 and donations to the cause can be made via the Legion’s GoFundMe page.