2000-12-09 / Letters

Irish Mourn A Loss

Dear Editor;

Henry B. Gonzales passed away this week in San Antonio, Texas. The passing came with great sadness to the Irish communities, not only in Texas but also throughout the world. Henry the child of Mexican immigrants was an ardent supporter of human rights and freedom from oppression everywhere.

Those involved in the 60’s knew him well as a dear friend and equal to our own great Congressman Mario Biaggi. Both entered congress as young men with the same backgrounds. Henry was a pretty good boxer in college and Mario a crime fighter with the New York City Police Department. Both faced prejudice in their youth and fought hard to overcome it. Both were inclined to throw an occasional punch at detractors.

Henry the first Mexican-American to be elected to Congress from Texas, and Mario to be one of a few Italians in the NYCPD and he proved himself to be the best and to this day is honored as the most decorated police officer in the country.

This great spirit and zeal for the rights of all people and their combative style on the floor of Congress drew them both together and fused a friendship and trust that has lasted to this day.

When Mario organized the Ad-Hoc Committee for Irish Humane rights, Henry was right along side him. Many at the time thought it was a futile attempt. The British and some well placed Irish politicians scoffed at the idea. Well history certainly proved them wrong. The British ruled the day that these two lads of other than Irish decent had met and formed a relationship that has changed the history of British-Irish relations. Today Charlie, one of Henry’s eight children, sits in his father’s chair in Congress and the Ad-Hoc Committee carries on the good fight for all of us.

To his wife Bertha of over 60 years, his four daughters and four sons we extend our deepest sympathy and the love and heartfelt thanks of grateful Irish people all over the world. Mario our sympathy to you and the loss of a great friend. The name Biaggi and Gonzales will be etched in the minds and history of the Irish forever. God bless.


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