Today, the 10th of July 2011, is a National Day of Commemoration for servicemen and women who have died in wars or in service with the United Nations. Nearly every family in Ireland will have a story that relates to family members who died in service. My own great-grandfather is commemorated in Thiepval having died in WWI and I will tell his story here some other day.
For today I will relate a personal memory from 1980. We grew up in married quarters in Collin's Barracks on the NE side of Cork city. Married quarters consisted of four large accomodation blocks which held about thirty families from throughout Ireland but I seem to remember a decidedly Tipperary bias to the families origins, there were Burkes, Lonergans and Hogans. The families came together on a weekly basis for mass in what I think is called the Garrison Chapel while the broader community (servicemen and families) came together for Passing Out ceremonies, Christmas parties and less regularly, army funerals.