happy fourth of july.

YANKS

O’Leary, from Chicago, and a first-class fightin’ man,
For his father was from Kerry, where the gentle art began:
Sergeant Dennis P. O’Leary, from somewhere on Archie Road,
Dodgin’ shells and smellin’ powder while the battle ebbed and flowed.

And the captain says: “O’Leary, from your fightin’ company
Pick a dozen fightin’ Yankees and come skirmishin’ with me;
Pick a dozen fightin’ devils, and I know it’s you who can.”
And O’Leary, he saluted like a first-class fightin’ man.

O’Leary’s eye was piercin’ and O’Leary’s voice was clear:
“Dimitri Georgoupoulos!” And Dimitri answered “Here!”
Then “Vladimir Slaminsky! Step three paces to the front,
For we’re wantin’ you to join us in a little Heinie hunt!”

“Garibaldi Ravioli!” Garibaldi was to share;
And “Ole Axel Kettleson!” and “Thomas Scalp-the-Bear!”
Who was Choctaw by inheritance, bred in the blood and bones,
But set down in army records by the name of Thomas Jones.

“Van Winkle Schuyler Stuyvesant!” Van Winkle was a bud
From the ancient tree of Stuyvesant and had it in his blood;
“Don Miguel de Colombo!” Don Miguel’s next of kin
Were across the Rio Grande when Don Miguel went in.

“Ulysses Grant O’Sheridan!” Ulysses’ sire, you see,
Had been at Appomattox near the famous apple-tree;
And “Patrick Michael Casey!” Patrick Michael, you can tell,
Was a fightin’ man by nature with three fightin’ names as well.

“Joe Wheeler Lee!” And Joseph had a pair of fightin’ eyes;
And his granddad was a Johnny, as perhaps you might surmise;
Then “Robert Bruce MacPherson!” And the Yankee squad was done
With “Isaac Abie Cohen!” once a lightweight champion.

Then O’Leary paced ’em forward and, says he: “You Yanks, fall in!”
And he marched ’em to the captain. “Let the skirmishin’ begin.”
Says he, “The Yanks are comin’, and you beat ’em if you can!”
And saluted like a soldier and first-class fightin’ man!

–James W. Foley

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16 thoughts on “happy fourth of july.

  1. breda says:

    …and isn’t it just the most beautiful thing?

  2. Tam says:

    What a great way to start the day!

    Happy Fourth, bro. 🙂

  3. Earl says:

    Ah, yes, I know them all and loved them everyone.

  4. Turk Turon says:

    That’s great!
    Is it a poem or a song? I’ve never heard it before. It’s wonderful.
    Oh, and a happy Fourth!

  5. M. Philbrick says:

    This is one of the most American poems I have ever read. Men descended from a variety of nationalities with nothing in common other than the common defense of their country and each other.

    Thanks, Marko. Happy fourth everyone.

  6. Roberta X says:

    A glorious poem for the glorious Fourth! Linked.

  7. staghounds says:

    I believe we’ll still be the same United States when we need to be again.

    Nor enough people remember how important the AEF was in making the unum out of the pluribus.

    Thank you for the reminder.

  8. Kresh says:

    *shiver*

    Quite nice. Happy July 4th!

  9. Ted says:

    There’s a great book that elaborates on this: “On becoming American” by Ted Morgan. Out of print, but a good read if you can find it on Amazon. Morgan was born Sanche de Gramont, a french aristocrat. He gladly left it behind.

  10. […] happy fourth of july. YANKS O’Leary, from Chicago, and a first-class fightin’ man, For his father was from Kerry, where the […] […]

  11. SgtStu says:

    Bravo, Marko! Thank you, that is a keeper. Happy Fourth, as well. It’s almost dark. Let the explosions begin!
    Stu

  12. Al T. says:

    Good one. As one of our Navaho PSD guys said during a fight, “when you’ve got Apahes overhead and a Navaho on the ground, you are (!) having an interesting day”.

    Greetings from Baghdad,

    Al Thompson

  13. Al T. says:

    Good one. As one of our Navaho PSD guys said during a fight, “when you’ve got Apaches overhead and a Navaho on the ground, you are (!) having an interesting day”.

    Greetings from Baghdad,

    Al Thompson

  14. MarkHB says:

    I was visiting some chums in Richmond, and when the fireworks from some neighbour’s house began detonating, they started wishing me a happy Independence Day, and bemoaning 232 years since they gave away the best thing they’d ever had. We trooped down to the river, and they cheered as I ceremonially tore open a tea-bag and poured the contents into the drink.

    Yay.

  15. A Irishman, a Jew, an Indian (you pick), a Black man, an Asian, and a Muslim were sitting down to lunch together in the company lunch room…..

    what? Oh, there’s no punch line. This is America.

  16. Ross says:

    Strangely enough, I used to tell a joke similar to David’s… I’m Jewish, and I had two coworkers who I frequently had lunch with. Ted was (as he called himself) an ABC – American Born Chinese. (He was also 6′ tall, shooting the “short Chinese” myth in the foot). Dave was from South London – a true Cockney. Our favorite pub was Biddie Early’s in Boston – an Irish Pub.

    So… a Jew, a Chinaman and a Englishman walk into an Irish pub… and we ordered lunch.

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