Sunday, May 29, 2011

I think Grandpa would be proud

When I was growing up we visited my grandparents most weekends. We spent summer evenings playing in their yard with our cousins. In Grandma and Grandpa's living room was a tall piano. I never saw anyone play it but on top of it was a line of wooden hammers. I later learned these were Grandpa’s gavels and that Grandpa, James J Brady, received one for each session of the Rhode Island State Senate that he presided over as President Pro Tem. He had done what many Irish Americans had done, served in politics. The early Irish Americans saw politics as a way to improve the lives of their families and their communities. On several occasions he acted as the Governor in the absence of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor. His daughters became teachers and all his son's enlisted and served in the armed forces in World War II. My own father, John J Brady, left college and enlisted in the US Marines. He was wounded during an amphibious landing on a beach in the south Pacific when he was hit by a flamethrower. Only the valor of his buddies pulling him to safety saved him. His burns kept him in the hospital in San Diego for a year, he received Last Rites more than once. He survived with multiple skin grafts. Some time after meeting my wife she confided that the first time she met him she was shocked by the scars on his face, I had never noticed. He went on to get his degree, marry, and raise 6 children. He died of a heart attack at age 60, too young, and yet God had given him 40 extra years and he never spent another day in the hospital. He never entered politics but always felt a duty to vote in every election. He taught me that every person has dignity, whatever his race, religion, or position. He taught me to never seek out a fight but to never run from one either. I miss him every day.
What we have done in forming a union is something I believe my grandparents, my father, and my uncles would be proud of. I know my mother and my aunts are. We have stood together, tall and proud, we have stood against adversity, fighting for what lives in the deepest place in our hearts. We have stood up although we feared it might cost us our jobs as we struggled against one of the best union busting firms in the country, Jackson Lewis. We had no choice, we had to, we were compelled to, because of something deep inside us.

This is my story, but I am sure each of us has a similar story, about those who influenced us.

Now it is time to get to work again, to work together with management, but I could not look forward without taking a moment to look back and recognize where we came from and acknowledge those who made us who we are.

I think they would be proud.

1 comment:

Cathie said...
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