Long before the beautiful Judy Collins recorded Amazing Grace at Saint Paul Chapel at Columbia University and made it an instant international hit. Judy Collins link > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BdAEOrqZ1Jk <
Before she turned that little recorded song into one of the most recorded songs ever.
Irish and Scottish Bag Pipers had played it for two hundred years.
Jersey City firefighters and members of the Port Authority Police Department Bag Pipe playing at 9/11 memorial
Is Paddy playing Amazing Grace on the Bag Pipes.
Before the gentrification killed us,
Before our politicians gave tax credits to billionaires to move our jobs overseas,
Before they busted our unions,
Before they stole our pensions,
Before they decided a living wage would hurt Wall Street profits,
Before the Yuppies came,
When being Blue Collar meant something beautiful,
When being Blue Collar meant being proud,
When being Irish meant something more than green beer on Saint Patrick Day.
When I was young living by the river near the old pier on summer nights on Saturdays.
The men would come to the river, smoke and drink a bit before they would go home.
My mother would say go get your father and your uncles.
I would find them sitting with their shirts off, talking, laughing, moaning, bragging, and groaning. The Whisky was pouring, and then Paddy would jumped out on those old single pier piles with his bagpipes. He play " a Wearing of the Green. We cheer Good Man Paddy!
Eventually as the sun began setting Paddy played "Amazing Grace", and it signaled time to go home boys.
I remember being proud of all of them.
I remember all I ever wanted was to be them.
I was blessed by living in a time when Blue Collar life mattered.
Those men taught me what my school books couldn't.
Those men educated me in the ways my numerous university degrees could never do.
They taught me:
It does not matter Little Jess what kind of work you do.
What matters is pride in an honest day's work.
Work is dignity, and dignity is pride in a good day's work.
They gave me a place to hold on to,
Gave me a soul to call my own,
They gave me an identity of my own.
They made me Irish Proud,
They made me American Proud,
They made me human.
Here's to all those fathers, uncles, and cousins who educated me.
Here's to all you working class heroes,
Here's to the heroes I love.
Jesse The Walking Man Turner
On my walk over the mountain this morning...I listened to Sinead O'Cornor signing the song all the men sang as they walked home from those abandoned piers.. "Oro Se do Bheatha Bhaile"