Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Ties Between Ireland and America Formed In World War II

I think many Americans tend to think of Ireland in the 19th century as when America and Ireland were most connected because so many Irish came to America in that century.

Perhaps the connections have been forming and reforming as long as America has had European settlement.

Another connection came to light when I had the opportunity to read two copies of articles which were printed in the  area newspapers for Middleboro, Massachusetts, USA.

The articles describe that Alton Logan of Center Street, Middleboro became a celebrity in Carrickfergus, Ireland.  Alton Logan was stationed at Prospect Camp in Carrickfergus in 1942 as an American GI. The Methodist Church ran a canteen at which Alton formed many friendships.  The strength of those friendships was so great that Alton kept in touch by writing to the friends for decades.

After being away for twenty years he revisited Carrickfergus.  That's when he heard there was a plan to build a new church hall.  Alton was so committed to his friends that upon his return to America, he started raising funds among the American GIs he knew had been stationed there.  He gave talks, accompanied by slides and films, to general audiences and raised even more money.

The Methodist Church in Carrickfergus was so appreciative of the funds he sent them, they didn't forget.  Whenever he went back for a visit he was treated as an old friend.  They told him the hall belonged to him as much as any member of the local congregation.

Officials and notables of the Carrickfergus would turn out to greet him.  On one trip with his brother Harold Logan he met with the Mayor and Councillor Sam Murphy, Deputy Mayor and Councillor Charles Johnston, village administrator Geoffrey Gordon, and Methodist Minister David McCune, all of Carrickfergus.

The Church also held a get together to show their appreciation.

And like old friends everywhere they would tease him.  Once he asked for his old room in the Dobbins Inn in Carrickfergus and was told it was reserved already.  When he got there from America, it turned out it had been reserved for him!

Alto Logan was consistently a contributor throughout his life. When age and heart disease started to take their toll, he knit mittens for the children of Middleboro.

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