There are always surprises in Wales, and one surprise is the Welsh American connection, which we call AmeriCymru. In fact, eleven American presidents may have felt ‘Hiraeth’ for Wales. ‘Hiraeth’ is a Welsh word, pronounced (hear-eye-th), and the translation is literally ‘longing or homesickness’. We feel it more like a heartfelt connection.
Yes - eleven American presidents had Welsh roots, and in Carmarthenshire President John Adams is of most interest to us; because his grandfather was Welsh and he went to school in Carmarthen.
John Adams was a key figure in implementing the Declaration of Independence, and ending the war with Great Britain. After serving as vice-president to George Washington, in 1797 he became the second President of the United States, and he was the first President to occupy the White House.
Definitely a step up for the American Adams family, whose Welsh roots were not far from the village of Login; at Penybanc Farm, Llanboidy. John Adams grandfather went to school in Carmarthen, he took holy orders in 1675, and he then emigrated to America.
Looking to the sky near John Adams ancestral home, we can now see a few thin white clouds that indicate passengers travelling to America.John Adams might have been comforted by the modern day Americymru connection. Now above the Parish of his ancestors there is often as many Americans in the sky as there are Welsh on the ground. It’s just a shame that nearly all those in the sky have never seen this beautiful place below them.
One notable exception is Amelia Earhart; she became the first Woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, and she touched down in wales. Passengers in the air over Carmarthenshire will reach Newfoundland in just a few hours. In 1928 it took Amelia Earhart with 2nd pilot Bill Stultz and mechanic Lou Gordon 20 hours and 40 minutes.
By the shortest route possible, following the Coastline of Carmarthen Bay, the orange and gold, float-equipped, monoplane touched down on the choppy waters near Burry Port. Stultz commented to the Llanelli Mercury:
"We encountered fog almost all the way, and there was considerable rain as well. Most of the way I was flying blind because of the fog and rain. We had no idea where we were, as we had not seen Ireland. We landed here in south Wales because we were short of fuel."
Amelia Earhart was a great adventurer 4 years after she landed in Wales, she took off again from Newfoundland, to become the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
Life is a Journey and we want it to be filled with good experiences.
Beneath the London to America flight paths there are Celtic Routes along a road less travelled. In Wales both Pilgrims and Soldiers walked this way through history. So many heads in the sky now, not so many feet on the ground here. It’s good to feel Hiraeth, and to know where we have come from.