KINSALE, Ireland (NNS) -- The Irish Veterans Association held a dedication ceremony to commemorate the first Irish Veterans Post in honor of fallen American Lt. (SEAL) Michael Murphy in the chapter's headquarters April 18.
The Irish Veterans Association was started as a way to unite all who identify themselves as Irish and who are military veterans, or who are interested in their shared history.
"Our mission is to tell the stories of the Irish and those of Irish heritage who have served in other forces over the years," said James Sikora, Executive Director of the Irish Veterans Association. "We are trying to join all the dots and speak to all Irish and those of Irish heritage globally...to create a network of people who identify as being Irish and as being veterans."
Sikora, who grew up in Ireland but served eight years in the U.S. Army infantry - having deployed to the middle east, Europe, Latin America, former Yugoslavia and Iraq - explained that the Irish Veterans chose to name the first post after Lt. (SEAL) Michael Murphy because of his Irish heritage and his actions in Afghanistan in June 2005.
Murphy's story has become well known due to the book Lone Survivor, and the subsequent movie of the same name, as told by the single surviving special operator from Operation Red Wings, Marcus Luttrell.
"Michael's story is remarkable and we hope that through research and by connecting Irish Veterans around the world that we will be able to document the remarkable unknown stories of Irish veterans," Sikora said. "These stories are important for the Irish people and Irish veterans from other countries, to know."
The association is hoping to have several more Irish Veterans Posts throughout Ireland, as well as other countries as a place where veterans of Irish decent can share the common bond of both heritage and military service.
U.S. Ambassador Kevin O'Malley, representatives from the U.S. Naval Special Warfare community and the guided-missile destroyer USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112) were in attendance at the ceremony in the White House Hotel where the Irish Veterans Post 001 dedicated a plaque to the memory of Lt. (SEAL) Michael Murphy.
"It's incredible to have a member of the U.S. Navy SEALS's and Sailors from the USS Michael Murphy here in Kinsale for this ceremony," said Sikora. "Their presence, and that of Michael's parents, Dan and Maureen, and brother John, made the event unbelievably special."
Lt. (SEAL) Michael Murphy was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in October 2007 for his actions in the mountains of Afghanistan in June 2005. USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112) was commissioned in New York city on Oct. 6, 2012.