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Oh, Ireland! My sweet ancestral home! I have never been, but I know my heart belongs on those emerald shores with the stiff wind in my hair and a stout pint of brew in my hand. I also think that it’s a crying shame that there’s just the one holiday that celebrates the heritage of a people who were instrumental in building this great country with their blood, sweat, and pain. Even though we only have the one day, I will still put on my cool Irish t-shirts and celebrate hard enough for ten days of merriment.

For decades, the Irish people of this country were looked at with disdain. We were considered second-class citizens and our plight was seen as something almost deserved. My ancestors came to this country with the same dreams in their heart and the same bravery as every other immigrant. I deserve my night of raucous behavior, and the rest of the country will have to deal with the patriotic Irish t-shirts and the rivers of green for just one night.

What you should really do if you’re one of the millions of people who have no actual ties to Ireland who also go out and party hardy on St. Patrick’s, is find yourself an honest-to-God Irishman or someone of Irish decent to drink with. I’m not implying you should take off your Irish drinking t shirts and ruin your good time. All you need to do is sit down, buy the fellow a drink, and listen to the stories he has to tell. You may find a greater appreciation for the Irish common man’s struggle than ever before.

Don’t think for one minute that Saint Patrick’s Day is just another reason to get drunk, wear some great Irish tee shirts, and act like a fool. This is our day and you need to take a moment to appreciate the sacrifice that the Irish people have made for the betterment of this grand empire we call America. Thousands of Irish workers died building the railroads that served as the lifelines of growth for this country. We wouldn’t be the richest country in the world if it weren’t for the efforts of people from Ireland who wanted a better life.

It took a strong back, a determined heart, and a true love of family to be an Irishman in years gone by. You couldn’t have gone through the humiliation and trauma these people experienced without such strong motivations and internal fortitude. It’s okay to drink and be merry in your Irish pride t shirts…but remember that this nation would have been a lot less successful without the sweat of Ireland fueling it’s growth.

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