By Mark Hallum
U.S. Representative Joe Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) honored the role played by Irish-Americans in the Easter Rising on its 100th anniversary with a pear tree dedication ceremony in Sabba Park Saturday.
“This tree will serve as a remembrance for the Irish Patriots who sacrificed their lives for freedom, as well as the support that came from Irish Americans — whose participation was critical in the movement,” Crowley said. “I thank NYC Parks and Queens Borough Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski for her role in helping us recognize this special occasion.”
Ireland’s Easter Rising of 1916 was an act of rebellion against the British that ultimately failed. The Rising did not have widespread support in Ireland, but when the British executed several of the leaders, public sentiment changed.
The movement itself became a symbol that paved the way for the independence of the Republic of Ireland in 1921. For rebel fighters, widely regarded as martyrs, the push for a sovereign democracy would shed their country of oppressive British rule and turn their countrymen from subjects into citizens.
American backing for the Rising came in the form of a support network from labor unions and Irish-American nationalists living in the United States and making financial contributions, according to Crowley.
“The communities of Sunnyside and Woodside have long been the proud home of so many Irish and Irish Americans in New York City,” said Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside). “ I am happy to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Rising in Woodside and to pay tribute to those who lost their lives fighting for independence.”
Some 488 individuals were killed on both sides of the conflict that began on Easter Monday and lasted five days in Dublin as well as several other locations. It was the largest armed resistance movement in Ireland since 1798.
The Callery Pear can be found in Sabba Park near the intersection of Queens Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall