Monday, August 22, 2011


Today is the 89th anniversary of the death of Michael Collins.

Who knows how the history of Ireland would have been shaped had Collins lived. Would he have been the savior of his country, or would he have slowly morphed into a military dictator? Both, I think, are overstated positions. What cannot be disputed is that he was a principal player in wrenching the initiative from the British and setting Ireland on the road of freedom and independence.

The circumstances of the death of the Big Fella have spawned a publishing industry in Ireland, much as the assassination of JFK did for us here. Did DeValera have him killed? Did a member of his own command murder him? Or, more likely, was his death the result of his own rash act coupled with a lucky shot from a young man who didn't even know who it was that he had killed— or even if he had killed rather than merely wounded him.

We'll never know. Nevertheless, the date of 22 August 1922 will continue to be observed by those who think about such things. And I will fly my tricolor on this date, as always.

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