Remembering today all those including my ancestors who came here from Ireland as refugees, seeking not just a better life but desperate to avoid starvation due to famine and an unjust system of food distribution. On our trip to Ireland, Chris and I saw many “famine cottages,” little stone buildings abandoned as people died or left in those terrible times, and still standing empty. These immigrants were not exactly welcomed as they arrived here. Nativists feared that they and their religion would destroy America. Part of the stimulus toward creation of a public education system was to advance the assimilation of all those dirty ignorant newcomers – Irish and others who followed – and make them just like “us.” And alas, how well that project seems to have succeeded.