Post 32 Irish UN Veterans taking part in the ceremonies. From left Martin Hunt (Newcastle West), Jim Byrne (Rathkeale), John Irwin, John Relihan, John Gilbert, Jimmy Flaherty, Jerry O’Connor and Isaac Langford (Newcastle West). – Photo George Daly. – Memorial Ceremony to the Korean Veterans in Lixnaw Co Kerry

On a beautiful crisp dry Sunday morning last in Lixnaw, members from the American Legion Fr. Francis Duffy Post IR02 met with members from ONE outside Quilters pub to march through the village, led by the Irish and American flags, to the John Canty memorial arch dedicated to the Irish who died in Korea. Commander Patrick Mulcahy had these words to say “Delighted to be in Lixnaw this morning to remember all those young people killed in Korea, 29 were non-citizens, it took fifty years of hard work to have them naturalised posthumously, thanks to Sgt. John Leahy (Lixnaw) and Patrick Maguire (Mullaghdun, Co. Fermanagh), two Irish born decorated veterans. Our thanks to Irish United Nations Veterans and members of Irish Veterans ONE.” It was a beautiful morning in Lixnaw, Co. Kerry where our Post IRO2 laid a wreath in remembrance of the 29 soldiers killed in Korea along with 7 Catholic Priests and deacons and 1 Reverend Mother. Our Post was joined by the United Nations Veterans, also the Irish veterans ONE. The wreath was laid at the beautiful memorial which was dedicated in 2005 by the Korean and American Ambassadors! It was impressive to see many of the locals come out to witness these proud men marching and honouring those who fought and died in war so many years ago. Veterans worldwide are remembered on November 11th. When all assembled at the John Canty memorial, our countries flags flanked either side and the ceremony was opened by Commander Pat Mulcahy. Prayers were offered by Danny Finucane, chaplain to the American Legion of the Fr. Francis Duffy post IR02 and the names of the deceased were read out, 29 soldiers, 7 priests and 1 religious order. A local man read out names of locals who died in other wars. Following final prayers, the haunting sound of the bugle playing Reveille from behind the memorial brought a feeling of pride and sadness for those gone. Watching our living Veterans, some over 90 years of age, standing tall and proud, saluting the American flag made one realise how fortunate we are because of all the sacrifices made by our lost soldiers, our peacekeepers.
It was quite humbling, and those who attended the ceremony went to the Ceolan after for refreshments and a chat. It was lovely to see fellow Americans who now live in the area mingle, and to listen to the stories of our Veterans such as the Devines from Newcastle West. The locals who came were impressed with the day and I am sure want to see it again another year.
Five of the 29 Irish-born GIs who perished in the Korean War were born in County Kerry, including Marine John Patrick White. Four were born in Cork, Roscommon and Limerick. Mayo was the birthplace for three, Leitrim and Antrim two, and others hailed from Longford, Galway, Tipperary, and Louth. Most were emigrants who were drafted into the military not long after their arrival in the States.