US President Joe Biden has paid tribute to Irish immigrants to America and proclaimed that March 2021 will be Irish-American heritage month.
The President has Irish roots and once said that ‘Ireland will be written on my soul’.
His great-great-great-grandfather Edward Blewitt and great-great-grandfather Owen Finnegan both left Ireland for the US during the Famine years.
Irish American heritage month celebrates the achievements and contributions of the Irish population in the US and has been held every year since 1991.
Now President Biden has praised the ‘unyielding spirit of determination’ of the Irish, both in America and across the world and said that while they have gone through many hard times, they ‘come out strong on the other side’.
President Biden said: “Irish immigrants arrived on our shores with an unyielding spirit of determination that has helped define America’s soul and shape our success across generations.
“Driven by the same dreams that still beckon people the world over to America today, so many crossed the Atlantic with nothing but the hope in their hearts and their faith in the possibility of a better life.
“That’s what brought the Blewitts from Co Mayo and the Finnegans of Co Louth to the United States.
“For years, they brought Ireland into their homes in America. Working hard. Raising families. Remembering always where they came from.
“By 1909, my grandparents Ambrose Finnegan and Geraldine Blewitt met and married in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and passed on to my mother, Catherine Eugenia Finnegan Biden, a pride and a passion that runs through the bloodstream of all Irish-Americans.
“The story of the Irish the world over is one of people who have weathered their fair share of hard times but have always come out strong on the other side.
“From often humble beginnings, Irish Americans became the farmers, servants, miners, factory workers, and laborers who fed our nation, kept our homes, and built our industry and infrastructure.
“They became the soldiers who won American independence, died to preserve our Union, and fought in every battle since to defend America and its values.”
Biden also spoke about the special relationship shared between Ireland and the US which stretches back to a long shared history and will continue into the future.
He continued: “As I said when I visited Dublin in 2016, our nations have always shared a deep spark — linked in memory and imagination, joined by our histories and our futures. Everything between us runs deep: literature, poetry, sadness, joy, and, most of all, resilience.
“Through every trial and tempest, we never stop dreaming.
“The fabric of modern America is woven through with the green of the Emerald Isle. This month, we celebrate the sacrifices and contributions that generations of Irish Americans have made to build a better America, and we renew the bonds of friendship that will forever tie Ireland and the United States.”
In 2016, Biden visited his ancestral homeland and met some long-lost relatives in Co Mayo.
Irish and American leaders and ambassadors have a long history of celebrating St Patrick’s Day together in the White House.
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Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcalling