2000-04-01 / Columnists

Meet The Irish

by Harry McGuirk

There's no doubt America's tribute to the Irish and their loyalty to the American Flag is welcomed by all Irish people who have taken the Pledge of Allegiance to the Stars and Stripes. We are proud to be Irish extraction or proud to be naturalized United States citizens. Of course, it helps on the Fourth of July to fly "Old Glory" high. "God Bless America" by Irving Berlin was our favorite recording.

Margie and I have another reason to play that lovely love song by Kate Smith. It's so patriotic it would warm the cockles of your heart.

The most famous of Irish tenors of all time was Count John McCormack. He was the young man from Westmeath. People came in the thousands just to stand in the street to hear him. A performance at Dublin's Rotunda Theatre to hear this young man was well attended. All over the world he was compared to the Great Caruso. The Irish Count (this title was conferred by the Pope) had many advantages. He was an opera star just like Caruso. He spoke perfect English also (and Irish if necessary). John was a saint to multitudes. In all parts of the world the multitudes swarmed to see and hear him.

In the early days of radio, we had a German Telefunken from the '30s. It was expected that there was a dead silence in the house. My father was a good singer of quaint songs. He though John McCormack was sent by God and maybe he was!

In his later years, Count McCormack came to the United States before he returned to Ireland, where he died about 1946. His fellow countrymen cried throughout the world.

God Bless! Slan…

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