About Meridian Local 4627
SOME INTERESTING FACTS
The tradition of bagpipes played at fire department and police department funerals in the United States goes back over 150 years. When the Irish and Scottish immigrated to America, they brought many of their traditions with them. One of these traditions was the Great Highland Bagpipe, often played at Celtic weddings, funerals and ceilis (dances).
It wasn’t until the great potato famine and massive Irish immigration to the East Coast of the United States that the tradition of the bagpipes really took hold in the fire department. In the 1800’s, Irish immigrants faced massive discrimination.
Factories and shops had signs reading “NINA” – No Irish Need Apply. The only jobs they could get were the ones no one else wanted – jobs that were dirty, dangerous, or both – firefighters and police officers. It was not an uncommon event to have several firefighters killed at a working fire. The Irish firefighters’ funerals were typical of all Irish funerals – the pipes were played. It was somehow okay for a hardened firefighter to cry at the sound of bagpipes when his dignity would not let him weep for a fallen comrade.