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Tony Fitzpatrick
The Radio Swan

by Tony Fitzpatrick

I never think much about my Irishness. My parents were not the “kiss me, I’m Irish!” types, though they were both very proud of their immigrant grandparents, and from them learned of the ugly anti-Irish sentiments when they first got off the boat. In 1850s and ’60s New York -- that is, Ellis Island -- Irish men were, more often than not, drafted immediately into the Union Infantry, where they mostly became cannon fodder. My father made it clear to me that we were Americans before anything else.