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IN MY OPINION . . .

Veterans Day 2015

Immigrants and their first-generation offspring have been the backbone of our nation's military for as long as we have been a nation. On this Veterans Day, when immigrants, both legal and illegal, have become a political football in a presidential election, that fact is worth remembering.

Half of U.S. troops in the 1840s were immigrants, mostly Irish recruited right off the ships that brought them. According to the Center for American Progress, Irish and German immigrants constituted almost one-fifth of the expanding Union army during the Civil War, or close to 500,000 men under arms. If one assumes that their casualty rates were proportionate, 125,000 of them died or were grievously wounded. As ranks became depleted during that war, blacks were finally allowed to serve and were formed into regiments of U.S. Colored Troops, as they were then called—almost all of them descended from involuntary immigrants to this country. One hundred, seventy-eight thousand of these former slaves served; 68,000 of them died.  Read More 
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