Public Papers - 1992
Message on the Observance of St. Patrick's Day
It gives me great pleasure to send greetings to all those who are celebrating St. Patrick's Day.
When we reflect on the extraordinary life and lasting influence of St. Patrick, it is easy to understand why the observance of this day has become a cherished annual tradition, in the Emerald Isle and wherever the sons and daughters of Erin have made their home.
Although St. Patrick originally came to Ireland as a captive of pirates and spent six years in slavery before his daring escape by sea, he later returned and became one of the greatest figures in the history of the Celtic peoples. The man who once described himself as ``the least of all the faithful'' bravely made his way back to Ireland to bring Christianity to the island's inhabitants. Through St. Patrick's influence, the Celtic people added to their ancient history and culture a new and even richer legacy of spiritual faith and human values.
Today, the Irish heritage is as grand as the many stories and legends that have been inspired by the life of St. Patrick. That is why, on March 17th, we not only remember a beloved saint but also celebrate the many contributions that Irish Americans have made to this country, through their unique traditions and folklore and through their many accomplishments in civic and political life. These have been evident from the earliest days of our Republic, when nine men of Irish origin joined in signing the Declaration of Independence. This is a fitting time to salute them and all who have followed them in carrying forward the hard work of freedom.
Barbara joins me in wishing all Irish Americans, actual and honorary, a very happy St. Patrick's Day. God bless you.