This Wednesday and Sunday I'll be singing at both the Irish Center and at St. Judes Roman Catholic Church. The music will be all Irish Rebel and Folk. Rebel music? I've been asked and I say yes. How I dare not forget those who lived and died for Ireland's freedom! Why would I? HOW could I? March 17th is not just a day to remember and act Irish, it's a day to remember those who are no longer with us upon this earth. It's to let us reflect on the History and deeds of the past and wonder what it truly means to be Irish.
Let me tell you what it means. And it certainly isn't getting drunk, putting up shamrocks and wearing green. There is so much more!
Now I want you to close your eyes and picture yourself in a feild, an endless one. Peace resounds in your mind and the sky is so blue that one might think it false. Memorize that soft feeling you get and enclose it in a box deep within your soul where none can touch it.
Now look about you once again.
The air is no longer clear, the sky is blackened and threatening. All around lie bodies, your friends, your family, your fellow race, all dead and gone. The you raise your eyes and see a sight so frightening you shiver until your very bones rattle.
A large, cruel-looking man with one eye is standing over you, his broad chest shadowing you from every light the day provided. He bend down and grabs your small arm in his vice grip, hurting, twisting it until you cry out in pain. Then he drags you from all you ever knew. No longer shall you see the happy cottage you grew in, no more is the joyous times you had with your family and people past. Everything is gone and you are now alone, a slave and a prisoner to an evil so great that you fear to breath in it's very presence.
Your days are long and filled with never ending pain. There's a whip constantly at your back and a threat always hovering above your soul. You cannot speak your own language, you cannot say your own name, you must not defy the greater power that you are captive to. You have to watch as your children are stripped from knowing you, brought up without care or love to you. You lie in fear, hate and anguish. You must only survive and endure.
Hope, hope is gone and nothing is left as you beg and work.
Then, one of your lost children hears your name by accident and wonders of you. He envelopes his time and thoughts on you, learning, memorizing. Then a love, stronger then life and death blooms from his chest. He searches for you, fighting back your slavers with a bravery non has yet seen. Then more of your children join him, laughing, crying, spilling their blood together for you. They see you, reach to help you and then....
All hope is crushed.
The cruel man has returned with his own twisted offspring that weave themselves into your children's lives. One by one, the spirit dies and you are once again left in darkness. Or so you thought. One flicker, one solitary star shines though the misty, murking inkyness.
Then you smile and hope blooms to it's fullest. A true child lives!
The light grows time and time again, only to be crushed by the big man who holds you captive. But never can he quench the light, never can he end the fire that was started. And it's then you know, in all of the failures, that your children have no forgotten and would never give up until you were free.
And that is the spirit of the Irish, rebels and not.
Freedom cries and we shall answer her call.
"Ireland Unfree, shall never be at peace!" -Padraig Pearse Irish Rebel, killed after Easter 1916 for believing in the spirit of Ireland's freedom.