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Two Flags

Martin Griffin

I had just turned seven years old in June 1963. My father was a sergeant in the Garda Siochana and was on duty during the president’s visit. A few days earlier he had brought home two small flags, an Irish tricolor and a Stars-and-Stripes. When the motorcade drove from Leinster House to Dublin Castle, my mother had placed me on a window-ledge in (I think) Nassau St, holding me in place so I could wave both flags, one in each hand. I briefly saw JFK in the open-top car. Maybe that was a premonition of the future, in a way, as I am now a professor of American literature at the University of Tennessee. I became an Irish Americanist, if you will.

- in Dublin Castle