Thursday, May 24, 2012

I am a Proud American!
By Mark Steven Ward
This is dedicated to all the Men and Women throughout the History of The United States of America, who have put on a uniform to serve this GREAT Nation, and to all those Men and Women who have died in the service of this GREAT Nation. This is also dedicated to my Hero, my Father, Sergeant Major Mark H. Ward JR, who fought in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam and is now serving in God's Army.

I AM PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN! I am the Spirit of America. I was there when the first shot was heard around the world, the Battle of Bunker Hill (Breeds Hill). I was there with General George Washington at Valley Forge that cold winter. I was there at the Battle of Yorktown. I was there when The Second Continental Congress signed The Declaration of Independence. I was there when this new Nation received her New Flag.

I AM PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN! I was there at the Battle of Baltimore when the British bombarded Fort McHenry and Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner. I was there with Andy Jackson at the battle of New Orleans.

I AM PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN! I was there at the Alamo when Texans' fought for their Independence.

I AM PROUD TO BE AMERICAN! I was there at Fort Sumter. I was there at the Battle of Antietam. I was there at the Battle of Shiloh. I was there at the Battle of Chickamauga. I was there at the Battle of Gettysburg and I was there when General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Manor.

I AM PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN! I was there when this nation started to spread more westward and we had to fight against the Great Indian Nations of the Sioux, the Comanche, the Apache, and the Cheyenne. I was there with General George Armstrong Custer at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

I AM PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN! I was there on the USS Maine when she blew up and Remember the Maine became our Battle Cry. I was there with Theodore Roosevelt and the Rough Riders at the Battle of San Juan Hill. I was there at all the Battles of The Spanish-American War. The FORGOTTEN WAR!!

I AM PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN! I was with General John J. Pershing and the American Expeditionary Force when they landed in France. I was there at the Battle of Cantigny. I was there at the Battles of Belleau Wood and Chateau-Thierry. I was there at the Second Battle of the Marne. I was there at the Battle of Saint-Mihiel. I was there at the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.

I AM PROUND TO BE AN AMERICAN! I was there on December 7, 1941, A Date which will live in INFAMY, at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked. I was there at Bataan and Corregidor. I was with the American and Filipino prisoners on The Bataan Death March where thousands died on their way to Japanese POW Camps. I was there at the Sea Battle of the Coral Sea. I was there at the Sea Battle of Midway. I was there at the Battle of Guadalcanal. I was there at the Philippines Campaign. I was there at the Battle of Iwo Jima. I was there at the Battle of Okinawa. I was there in the B-29 Superfortresses that dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
I was there at the North African Campaign. I was there at the Invasion of Sicily and Italy. I was there in Operation Overlord, the Invasion of Normandy. I was there at the Battle of the Bulge and I was in Bastogne when General Anthony McAuliffe replied "NUTS" to the surrender request. I was in the B-17 Flying Fortresses that brought the war to the heartland of Germany. I was there at the Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen when the American forces crossed the Rhine and began the Race for Berlin.

I AM PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN! I was there in South Korea when the North Koreans invaded the South and nearly driving the US and ROK defenders in to the sea. I was there at the Beachhead at Inchon. I am still there in South Korea today guarding at shaky armistice since no peace treaty has been signed.

I AM PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN! I was there in South Vietnam fighting another Communist country takeover.

I AM PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN! I was there when terrorist attacked the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington DC. I was on United Airlines Flight 93 when it crashed in Summerset County, Pennsylvania. I was there in Operation Desert Storm in the Persian Gulf. I was there in Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq. I am there in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. I am there wherever I need to be fighting a Global War on Terrorism.


Memorial Day is set aside each year to honor our “American Patriot Dead”, those who have given their lives in defense of the greatest nation on earth and our cherished American way of life. There are many who do not hesitate to criticize us and label us as imperialists but the fact is there is not a more generous, compassionate race of people on the face of the earth than Americans. Throughout our history we have never hesitated to demonstrate that legendary generosity and compassion for the needs of others whether those needs were caused by natural disasters, political unrest, poverty, hunger, disease or a myriad of other problems. We have always been the first to respond to the needs of others. The valiant men and women of our military forces have fought in foreign lands as well as on our own soil since our American Revolutionary War to preserve our dedication to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, not only for our own citizens, but for people of other freedom loving nations as well.
We have seen the dedicated men and women of our American military forces return home from two World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan with life altering injuries and tragically many in flag draped coffins after answering our nation’s call. Please take time to honor them for their service to or nation on this and every Memorial Day. May God Bless our Troops and our Veterans both young and old.
All gave Some – Some gave All

Jack Meehan, Past National President
Ancient Order of Hibernians in America

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Edna Kenny in dark over jobs 'snub' to young graduates

Enda Kenny in dark over jobs 'snub' to young graduates
Chaos at highest level over re-hiring of retired staff in public service
TAOISEACH Enda Kenny last night admitted he didn't know why retired public servants were being brought back to work while thousands of young graduates languish on the dole.
In what amounted to a frank admission of chaos at the highest level, Mr Kenny said: "I don't think I actually know the scale of what's involved here."
And Public Spending Minister Brendan Howlin admitted there is no central record of the retired staff being brought back in to work for state bodies -- or why they are being rehired.
The controversy widened last night after revelations that civil servants are back at their desks, despite taking early retirement and a more lucrative pension under a special deal earlier this year. Some are senior officials in top roles.
But no one in the Government could give firm guidelines on where and when it was acceptable to favour retired people over younger graduates.
Thousands of potential candidates who are not being considered include young teachers, nurses and newly qualified vets.
There is only a vague policy on re-hiring. It says people can be brought back after retirement for a task where their skills or experience are required.
But Mr Kenny said he would prefer to see jobseekers getting priority over retired people.
"I know that in the case of many retired public servants that the instructions are that, where it is possible to hire new people, that should be done."
However, that will bring little solace to the thousands who have graduated over recent years and are looking for work or contemplating emigration.
While there is a recruitment embargo, there was growing evidence last night that hundreds of retirees have been brought back on contracts across the whole public service.
Most of the retirees being rehired are on short-term contracts and the positions are not being advertised.
It emerged that 254 teachers are working in schools, despite being retired from duty, to get children through Leaving Cert classes in July.
But the HSE is still refusing to say how many retired health staff have been hired -- even though it is the largest employer in the public sector.
The issue has come to the fore since almost 8,000 public sector workers retired early last February.
The Government is under growing pressure to clarify who it wants to fill gaps in the public service. Some positions have been justified because of the experience that retirees can bring to a role -- this is often the case where teachers return to help a class finish an important exam year.
But in some cases managers are suspected of bringing back retired workers because it is easier than setting out to advertise and interview fresh candidates.
Without any detail or breakdown of where and why the retirees are working, the Government is facing huge criticism for not having a firm set of guidelines in place.
The retirees who have returned to work include a wide range of staff, from 59 vets working for the Department of Agriculture as meat inspectors, to the chief medical officer in the Department of Social Protection, who was rehired on a salary of up to €102,152.
Fianna Fail TD Billy Kelleher, who obtained the initial figures, said that most public servants who were rehired were denying jobs to those who were unemployed.
"If you retire, all things being equal, you shouldn't be able to come back.
"I just believe there are plenty of young people out there and people with qualifications and skills who could easily take up these jobs," he said.
According to the most recent figures, the State spent €15.4m on rehired retired public servants in 2010.
This is expected to soar this year given the high number of retirements before February's deadline to get a better pension deal.
The level of government incompetence is incredible. The man in charge of the government admits that he does not know why people who have retired by their own choice are being rehired on short term contracts to do the very same jobs that they retired from with their retirement pay plus the salary that goes with the job. Great work if you can get it !!! However, the downside is that those jobs are not available to younger workers that are coming into the work force and they are forced to choose between the dole or emigration. Is it any wonder why the Irish government are strongly in favor of the proposed “Irish E-3 Visa Program” in the U.S. It could drastically reduce the ever expanding number of Irish people who are forced onto the dole queue by government incompetence.
Jack Meehan, Past National President
Ancient Order of Hibernians in America