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US Military Hero From Roscrea, Honoured In Hometown
 
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Clear skies, glorious sunshine and the sound of the Thomas MacDonagh Pipe Band, provided the perfect backdrop for a very historic afternoon at Camblin, Roscrea recently’

Clear skies, glorious sunshine and the sound of the Thomas MacDonagh Pipe Band, provided the perfect backdrop for a very historic afternoon at Camblin, Roscrea recently.

Enthusiastic grounds gathered in the autumn sunshine to pay tribute to Marty Maher who emigrated from the local Roscrea area in the late nineteenth century and became one of the most famous sergeants to ever pass through the gates of the famous “West Point Military Training Academy”, situated near New York.



Coronal Paul Flynn US Defense Attache, Chrissie O’Meara, Noel Coonan T.D, Margaret O’Meara, John Guilfoyle, Peg Maher Matone and Peg Keily, pictured at the unveiling of the plague in memory of Marty Maher.  The unveiling took place recently at Camblin Church, Roscrea.

 

Master of Ceremonies for the afternoon was Brian King who welcomed everyone to the event. He promised those in attendance especially the family of Marty Maher who had travelled from the United States, a most memorable afternoon.  After thanking John Guilfoyle sponsor of the event, Brian then explained the format for the afternoon.

Before commencing with the official proceedings Brian said it was important to take a few minutes to reflect a little on the life of Marty Maher.  He then gave a stirring and passionate account of the life and times of Marty Maher which left those in attendance in no doubt as to the achievements of Marty Maher and why we were all gathered at Camblin to honour his memory.

Highlights of Brian’s speech and account of the life and times of Marty Maher included the following:

Martin “Marty Maher” was born on the 25th of June 1876.  After emigrating to America in the 1890’s, Marty decided to join the United States Army.  Over the next 50 years, thanks to his hard work, great sense of humour and Irish wit, he was to become, one of the most popular and celebrated soldier’s to have ever passed through, the gates of “West Point”


Pictured at the Marty Maher celebrations recently at Camblin, Roscrea, were David Cummins, Joe Barry, John Guilfoyle, Coronal Paul Flynn US Defense Attache, Peg Maher Matone (Niece Of Marty Maher), Noel Coonan T.D, Vourmeen Barry, Don Wixstead O.N.E, Liam Doran and Martin Fogarty

 

It has been argued that Marty Maher knew personally, more officers, in the United States Army, than any other person alive. “Patton, Bradley, Eisenhower, the list goes on , were not just students and future military leaders that Marty helped shape, they were colleagues of Marty and they were friends, all of whom have gone on record praising the work ethic, motivational abilities and enthusiasm of Marty Maher. Indeed, such was Marty’s esteem as an instructor in the United States Army, and such was the affection that his students had for him, that Marty was named an honorary member of the “West Point Classes” of 1912, 1926 and 1928.



Pat Moloughney presents a piece of Irish Bog Oak in the shape of a harp to Mrs Peg Maher Matone at the Marty Maher celebrations at Camblin recently.  Peg pictured (Centre) is Marty’s niece and is pictured alongside her daughter Debbie Walsh.  Both women came from the United States for the weekend to join in the celebrations.

 

It was no surprise that the Irish Immigrant from humble origins rose to the rank of Master Sergeant in the army.  He retired in 1928 but stayed at West Point for another eighteen years as a Civilian employee in the “Athletic Department”.  After over 50 years service to the US Army, Marty then decided to publish his memoirs by way of an autobiography entitled “Bringing Up The Brass: My 55 Years at West Point” .  The book, which is still considered, one of the most definitive guides, to life in the US Military, hit the shelves in bookshops around the world in 1951.  One of Marty Maher's former swimming students, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, wrote the foreword for the book which included the following….

 I cannot put too high an estimate on the help Marty Maher gave my morale. Marty, with his Irish wit and his talent for understanding, did the same for many, many others ... This foreword is meant to be a testament of the admiration and affection one soldier feels for an old friend, associate and helper, Sgt. Marty Maher of West Point.


Peg Maher Matone Pictured with Brian King M.C for the afternoon



Coronal Paul Flynn US Defense Attache, and Denis Doyle (Roscrea Fire Service) lay a wreath at the Marty Maher celebrations at Camblin, Roscrea, recently, in memory of the victims of 9/11.  2007 marks the sixth anniversary of that terrible and never to be forgotten day.

 


Marty's impressions and memories of West Point in the book, were so vivid, that acclaimed director, John Ford, in 1955, made them into what is still called the best movie about the U.S. Military Academy -- The Long Gray Line”, Starring celebrated actor Tyrone Power as Marty Maher and multi award winning Maureen O'Hara, as Marty’s wife, Mary.  Indeed many film critics consider “The Long Grey Line” a “masterpiece” and Ford’s finest film without the presence of John Wayne who of course helped make John Ford one of the most famous directors of all time.  The film provides, a warm and humorous perspective, of America’s oldest officer training institute through the eyes of it’s most loved pupil, instructor and officer.


The Guilfoyle family who sponsored the day’s proceeding are pictured enjoying the historic occasion


 


PJ Wright photograoher of the day's events pictured with Peg Maher Matone and her daughter Debbie

Although Marty Maher retired to New City, New York, he never really left West Point, and would often take the train to visit the academy, where he was always greeted with a warm and enthusiastic welcome. Marty died on January 17th, 1961 at the age of 84 and is buried in West Point cemetery, close to none other, than one of America’s most famous Generals….. General George Armstrong Custer. 

Brian King concluded his introductions by saying, “Marty Maher may not be here with us today in the physical form, but his spirit lives on and he continues to be revered throughout the US Military and beyond.  Through his book and through the film he helped raise international awareness of Roscrea and it’s surrounding areas, while at the same time, motivating future generations of US Soldiers, many of them Irish American, who through Marty Maher, realised, that one could go, along way in life, by working hard, by helping others and by staying true to oneself.  Brian concluded by asking those in attendance, to put their hands together and give a harty clap in appreciation of the “Legend” that is Marty Maher and all his tremendous achievements”


The next part of the afternoon’s proceedings included the prayer service which was conducted by Rev Lesley Robinson, Adrian Hewson and Fr Tom Corbett.  Fr Corbett quoted from Marty’s book and spoke about the importance of Marty’s legacy.  Brian King then introduced the first of four speakers, Pat Moloughney, whose Mother Kathleen wrote an article about Marty for her wonderful book “Roscrea My Heart’s Home”, which was a local bestseller in 1992.  Next to speak was Liam Doran.  In his introduction Brian King praised Liam Doran for keeping the name of Marty Maher alive and well over the years in Roscrea and surrounding areas.  Liam was instrumental in organsing a “Marty Maher” tribute night only two years ago as part of the Aonach Ros Cré Festival.  Liam then read out a letter from Dr Stephen Groves who is historian at the USMA West Point.  In his letter Dr Groves had the highest of praise for Marty Maher and Marty’s importance to the Us Military.  The letter also stressed how appreciative the US Military were to have had a Sergeant of the caliber of Marty Maher.  Coronal Paul Flynn US Defense Attache was next to speak.  The Coronal reminded us of Marty Maher’s tremendous loyalty, ability and contribution to the US Military.  If was only fitting that the last to speak was Peg Maher Matone, Marty’s niece who had traveled from the United Stages with her daughter Debbie to join in the Marty Maher celebrations.  Peg reflected on Marty’s life and gave a wonderful personal insight to the type of person Marty was and how he was loved so much by his family, friends, and colleagues at West Point.

The indoor proceedings then concluded with a beautiful rendition of the “Our Father”  by Deirdre Scanlon. 


The outside ceremony commenced with the unveiling and the blessing of the plague in memory of Marty which reads “Dedicated to the memory of Sgt Marty Maher, U.S Army who emigrated from this area to the US in 1896.  His long and distinguished military service at West Point earned him the respect and high esteem in which he was held by the Corps Of cadets including former U.S Presidents and distinguished soldiers”

After a presentation of Irish Bog Oak by Pat Moloughney to the Maher family, Noel Coonan T.D then spoke about the importance of honoring men like Marty Maher and he encouraged people to visit Marty’s grave at West Point if they were ever on a visit to New York.  A wreath laying ceremony then took place.  The first wreath was laid by Noel Coonan T.D and John Guilfoyle on behalf of the Irish People.  The 2nd wreath was laid by Mrs Debbie Walsh grand niece of Marty.  The third wreath was laid by the organisation of national servicemen, the Pierse McCann Branch and the final wreath was laid by Denis Doyle “Roscrea Fire Service” and Coronal Paul Flynn on behalf of all the victims of 9/11.  Peg Maher then laid a bunch of flowers on the grave of Dan Keily who was a great friend of Marty that died in 1891 at the tender age of sixteen.  Brian King then called on Deirdre Scanlon whose voice, once again enthralled all those gathered on a warm afternoon with a “Song Of Emigration”.  This was followed by a Lament by Pipe Major Joe Barry of the Thomas McDonagh Pipe Band in memory of Marty Maher and all those from the area who emigrated during that period including ancestors of the wife of President Truman, Elizabeth Wallace.

Brian King then concluded the ceremony by thanking everyone for their attendance and calling attention for The Last Post and Reveille and the playing of the American and Irish National Anthems.

All who attended the afternoon’s proceeding at Camblin were left in no doubt that they were witnessing a small but significant piece of local history on the day.  Congratulations to all the organisers of the event, particularly Joe and Vourmeen Barry who came up with the idea of honouring Marty Maher after a visit to West Point in 2005 with Noel Coonan.  Congratulations also to Liam Doran who liased with USMA West Point and the American Embassy in Ireland to help make the day such a success.  After the ceremony refreshments were served in Killea where the name and memory of Marty Maher was toasted on more than one occasion that night.


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New Town Map And Information Guide For Roscrea
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Seamus O’Doherty Remembers Fr Michael Collins
Aldi Opens In Roscrea
Kennedy Park Famiy Fun Day
Celebrity Chef Kevin Dundon Visits Super Valu Roscrea
Team Bernie Golf Classic
Roscrea Tourist Office Opens
Roscrea Tidy Towns 2015
End of an Era for RCTLC
End of an Era for RCTLC
Lifting the Lanterns
St Cronans Window Blessing
Culture Night In Roscrea
Roscrea Summer Reading Challenge
Roscrea Citizens Information Centre Celebrates 40 Years Of S
Roscrea Through The Ages
Business Watch Seminar
The World Of Columbanus Centres On Roscrea
Roscrea And District Angling Club
Roscrea Enhancement Plan Update
Roscrea Native Pens The Definitive Record On All-Ireland U21
Roscrea Business Watch Launched As Part Of Local Security Sh
Ashbury Residents Awards 2015
Launch of Roscrea Community Action Plan
Christmas Group Show.
Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) Celebrates 20 Years of Se
The Build Up To Christmas 2015 In Roscrea
Roscrea Enhancement Awards 2015
Launch Of Roscrea Sli Na Slainte Route
Roscrea People of the Year 2015
SafeTalk Suicide Alertness For Everyone Seminar
Roscrea People Of The Year Awards In Photos
Roscrea Hurling & Camogie Club Honours
Roscrea Sports Awards
RSU Youth Awards
St Patricks Day Parade
Local Schools Remember 1916
Camross Fashion Show
Best Year Ever For Roscrea Tidy Towns:
Irish Wheelchair Association
Walkability Study of Roscrea
Roscrea Responders
Saint Cronans Day
Launch Of Bishop Willie Walsh’s book ‘No Crusader’ at Damer
Launch of Roscrea Enhancement Committee Awards 2016
ST Cronan’s Church of Ireland, Roscrea, Fundraising Event
1916 Irish Proclamation Signatory – Patriot Thomas MacDonagh
Poetry & 1916 Garden Of Remembrance To be launched During Bi
Memories From Pieta House Darkness Into Light 2016
Colaiste Phobal Win local Derby
Bealtaine Concert
GAA president visits Schools To promote Feile Na NGAEL 201
Shooting from the Hip
Glen Glas open New Community House
Junior Tidy Towns Committee Poetry Competition
Roscrea Community Remembrance Garden
Age Friendly Roscrea Consultation Feedback
Roscrea Business And Innovation Park
Roscrea Tidy Towns Update
Roscrea Enhancement Plan: Signage Strategy
World Record Beaten In Roscrea
Relaunch of Racket Hall Hotel
Horse And Pony Meeting In Roscrea
STARCAMP REACHES NEW HEIGHTS!
Roscrea Cardiac Responders Presentation
Roscrea Enhancement Plan Update
Ballyskenach Athletics Club:
WAR AND RISING REMEMBERED IN ROSCREA
National Heritage Week
Roscrea Plays A Part In New Tipp Song
Heritage Week In Roscrea
RCU And Chamber Honours Jo Jo Cunningham
Coffee Morning Invitation
Together Let Us Make Roscrea A Great Place To Grow Old In
Soapbox Results
Roscrea Tidy Towns Results 2016
Launch Of Parish Mission
Onwards & Upwards For Local Tidy Towns Committee
Born from Sadness
Festival of Faith
Katie Taylor Visits Scoil Iosef Naofa, Corville
ST CRONANS CAMOGIE CLUB
Roscrea Miscellany
St Annes Playground
Roscrea Credit Union Annual Art Competition 2016
Show A Little Kindness
Recent Events Around Roscrea
Roscrea People Launch
Roscrea Tidy Towns Says Thanks
Roscrea Enhancement Awards
Save Yourself A Lot Of Money With A FREE Financial Review Se

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