Well, it required passion, stubborn determination, the sympathy of friends and the help of people of influence. Not to mention luck and good timing.
All these things and more were brought to bear in the campaign to secure posthumous citizenship for 28 Irish heroes of the Korean War, which was brought to fruition three years ago. The second triumph came last weekend at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn with the unveiling of a granite headstone bearing the names of the 28.
The stone will now be a focal point for those who chose to remember these men for as long as memory endures. Though they rest in far flung corners of the world, the 28 now have a spiritual home in a tranquil corner of their adopted land.
Many have played a role in bringing about this happy ending to a long and initially sad story.
All who attended the unveiling ceremony, not least family members and Korean War veterans, deserve praise and congratulation. Then there were the members of the committee behind the unveiling: the Murphys, Tim, Tadhg and Joe, and Kitty Thornton, who filled in so ably for her late husband, John. Appreciation is also due to John Garvey and Frank Durkan for their work and support. Gerry Staunton, until recently Ireland’s deputy consul general in New York, was a central figure in securing Irish government aid for the memorial.
And of course there was John Leahy, who fired up the campaign from the very start, and the late Brian McGinn who used the power of the internet to spread word of the fact that there was a vital mission that Irish America needed to carry out.
It was, most assuredly, one of the worthier ones. And it has now been magnificently accomplished.