But we have such a convergence with the unveiling of a monument in County Cork last weekend honoring young Irishmen who fought and died in the trenches of World War One, and the unveiling in the Borough of Brooklyn this weekend of a memorial to young Irishmen who fought in another brutal conflict, on the Korean peninsula, just over 30 years after “The War to End All Wars.”
The Cork monument, unveiled by Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, honors 131 volunteers from the Fermoy area of County Cork who, between 1914 and 1918, died fighting alongside British and Commonwealth troops against other young men from Germany and its allies.
Tens of thousands from all over Ireland died in World War I, but for years the Free State, and later the Republic, all but ignored their sacrifice as it somehow seemed to run counter to commemorating the heroism of those who fought for Irish freedom in 1916.
Ironically, of course, an official forgetfulness seemed also to shroud the men and women of 1916 as the more recent Troubles in the North reached a crescendo.
The Ireland of the early 21st century, however, seems to be striking a welcome balance. The young men of 1916 are being properly honored once again as are finally their fellow Irishmen who believed that they too were taking up freedom’s sword as they boarded ships for Flanders.
This weekend, in New York, attention will turn to the young Irishmen who lost their lives in freedom’s cause in Korea.
All who are being remembered might have disagreed on some aspects of history had fate given them the opportunity to meet in life.
But all surely standing together now in common appreciation, at the very least, of what it is like to face another man trying to take your life.
They were soldiers all. We do well to honor all of them.