Thursday, March 17, 2011

JFK and St. Patrick's Day

The Irish Ambassador to the United States
Thomas J. Kiernan presented President Kennedy
with the ceremonial bowl of shamrocks
in honor of St. Patrick's Day in 1961. 

"The observance of St. Patrick's Day is almost as old in America as the Irish themselves, and some say they arrived in the sixth century.

It is a day of dedication as well, as purely American as it is Irish, recalling for all that ours is a nation founded, sustained, and now preserved in the cause of liberty.  None more than the Irish can attest the power of that cause once it has griped a nation's soul.

It is well to love liberty, for it demands much of those who would live by it. Liberty is not content to share mankind. John Boyle O'Reilly who came to Boston by way of a penal colony in Western Australia understood this as few men have.  "Freedom," he wrote "is more than a resolution - - he is not free who is free alone."

To those who in our time have lost their freedom, or who through the ages have never won it, there is a converse to this message.  No one in the darkest cell, the remotest prison, under the most unyielding tyranny - - is ever entirely lost in bondage while there are yet free men in the world.

As this be our faith, let it also be our pride-and to all who share it, I send the greetings of this day." 

John F. Kennedy
President of the United States
March 17, 1962 

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