Liam Flynn: Memorial to Kildare-born US Marine who died in 2015 has received complaints from locals
A memorial to an Irish-born US Marine hero has been ordered removed from a County Kildare park after local complaints.
Liam Flynn from Clane, Co Kildare, emigrated to the US in 2002 and joined the Marines in 2006. He served four combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq and was awarded a Purple Heart for bravery.
He was killed with fifteen others in a Black Hawk helicopter crash off the coast of Florida in 2015 while on a training mission.
He was 33 at the time and married with a daughter. He is buried in Arlington Cemetery.
His mother Ann Flynn told The Irish Times that the family first planted a tree in his memory near their home in Donadea Forest Park, then they erected a plaque with a description of him as a “Marine Raider,” which was the name of his special ops company.
The Irish government’s forestry body Coillte stated it gave no permission for the memorial and locals had objected. They offered instead to name a park bench after him.
Flynn’s mother said she had offered to “scale back” the memorial but was told it had to be removed.
“I like to meet people halfway all the time. I didn’t get planning permission from them and they have offered me something else, but at the same time, I don’t know if it’s right that they should take the stone away either. I am in a no man’s land with it,” Flynn told the Irish Times.
The grieving mother believes the complaints have to do with the fact that he fought in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Nearby is also a 9/11 Memorial in memory of Sean Tallon, a Bronx firefighter whose family emigrated from Donadea.
Flynn stated the manager of the park had drawn a distinction between the 9/11 fireman and a soldier who had fought in the conflicts that followed.
“I said to the man from Coillte that what Liam was doing was preventing what was happening to the people on 9/11,” she said.
A spokeswoman for Coillte said it was working with the family “to agree on an amicable solution.”
“Naturally, due to the sensitivity of the issue involved we are consulting carefully with the family to agree on an alternative solution,” she added.
Local politician James Lawless said he was disappointed with the objections.
“There is nothing inappropriate about it. He died tragically; he didn’t die in combat. Anybody that falls in any site around the globe is entitled to be honored at home,” said Lawless.
“He is missed and held in high regard by the people who knew him back home.”
According to the Irish Times, Fr. Robert Spencer, a Navy chaplain who spoke during the marine’s funeral in 2015 said, “Ireland has given up one of her sons to defend freedom and for that we are grateful. You raised a wonderful son – very courageous, very brave – and we have reaped that benefit.”
At Arlington, Flynn was honored with a three-volley salute. Two badges – one of the Irish flag and the other bearing the Marine Raiders insignia – were placed on his casket, which his mother sprinkled with holy water from Knock, the sacred site in Ireland before Flynn was laid to rest.
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