Language Matters

Kathleen Stein Smith, Ph.D

A St. Patrick’s Day message from Ireland: Thank you, America

“As a rule, Irishmen only cry at football games. But a walk around New York City can do strange things to a man.

On a short visit to New York, my wife and I wandered down Manhattan; past Fire Department stations, bastions of old Irish America. We saw the names of those who had so bravely rushed in to the Twin Towers inscribed on lovingly tended memorials.

In the middle of Manhattan, there is a tiny park, the Irish Hunger Memorial.

Then, turning a corner, there it was: the Statue of Liberty stood graceful in the blue distance. This immense figure was the first sight seen by millions of Irish immigrants who had never before beheld a structure more than thirty feet tall. Yet here, after many hard weeks at sea, they were met by a benevolent colossus which proclaimed that salvation was at hand, and that a new future free of tyranny and poverty was possible.”

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Languages do matter!


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