Our Irish Elders

In 1849, Thomas William Maloy married Anna Kenny, somewhere in County Roscommon, Ireland.  They soon departed Eire’s green shores for a better life in America, settling on a small farm in Upstate New York.

The Maloys—along with untold other Irish ancestors known and unknown—left all they knew and loved for the great unknown.  Thomas & Anna were certainly pushed by the Great Famine, when the population of Ireland declined by 20-25%.  However, all took a great risk to move forward to give their descendents—I and my family—a chance at a better life.

They left behind the clans who’d been together a thousand years
With music and the memories ringing in their ears
They brought with them tradition and the will to work and die
In the land known for freedom, soil and sky

The Elders, 1849

We have been very fortunate that Maloys still in New York recorded the facts and stories of Thomas and his brother and their children.  We know they came from County Roscommon via Canada.  We know that writers say the Molloy name in Connacht is typically derived from “O Maoil Aodha, ‘descendant of the devoteee of (St) Aodh’, from maol, literally ‘bald’, a reference to the distinctive tonsure sported by early Irish monks.”  We know that no Maloys were left by the time our American family went looking in the old country, although that hasn’t stopped us from continuing the quest to better understand where we come from.

So, this St. Patrick’s Day, as we lift a Guinness and sing Danny Boy, save a quiet moment to remember our Elders, the one’s who gave so much when we deserve so little.

Happy Birthday, Abraham Lincoln

[Abraham Lincoln, U.S. President, looking at a photo album with his son, Tad Lincoln, Feb. 9, 1864] (LOC)

Abraham Lincoln was one of my first heroes.  Growing up in the rural Midwest, he was a man of my people.  As a young conservative, he was the founding father of the Republican Party.  As an American, he was the man my ancestors fought for—the man who saved the Union.

Get the books, and read and study them till you understand them in their principal features; and that is the main thing. It is of no consequence to be in a large town while you are reading. I read at New Salem, which never had three hundred people living in it. The books, and your capacity for understanding them, are just the same in all places…. Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed, is more important than any other one thing.

Abraham Lincoln, 1855

The man and and the myth of Honest Abe Lincoln is as valid today as it ever has been.  Any one of us can raise ourselves up from nothing to become President of this great nation.  We can say what we will and do what we will.  We can try new things, fail and live to try again another day.  We each have the right and responsibility to serve a purpose greater than ourselves.

Abraham Lincoln was born on 12 February 1809.  So far we have come in 200 years.  So far we have yet to go.

Happy Birthday, Ronald Reagan

Now, so there will be no misunderstanding, it’s not my intention to do away with government. It is rather to make it work—work with us, not over us; to stand by our side, not ride on our back. Government can and must provide opportunity, not smother it; foster productivity, not stifle it.

If we look to the answer as to why for so many years we achieved so much, prospered as no other people on earth, it was because here in this land we unleashed the energy and individual genius of man to a greater extent than has ever been done before. Freedom and the dignity of the individual have been more available and assured here than in any other place on earth. The price for this freedom at times has been high, but we have never been unwilling to pay that price.

President Reagan’s First Inaugural Address

President Ronald W. Reagan would have been 98 years old today.  Rest in Peace and may we once again find “willingness to believe in ourselves and to believe in our capacity to perform great deeds, to believe that together with God’s help we can and will resolve the problems which now confront us”.

Content of their Character

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today!”

-Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, 28 August 1963

Martin Luther King did some amazing things. If those things should be elevated to the ranks of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, or those who fought and died in the Civil War or World Wars—those others whom we honor with national holidays—you have to decide that for yourself.

Rev. King was killed before I was born.  Today, I am not amazed that we will have our first President who has color of skin closer to Rev. King than George Washington.

I am amazed that the son of an immigrant can make his way through the ivy league, back to the streets of Chicago, and on to the White House.

I am amazed that every few years, we peacefully pass the reigns of the most powerful government on earth.

I am amazed that despite America’s many troubles, our children may yet be able to rise above the sins of their fathers.

(Full text, audio and video of Rev. King’s speech.)