March 16, 1987
It's a very special pleasure to say Happy St. Patrick's Day to sons and daughters of St. Patrick wherever and whoever they may be. To those of Irish ancestry go my particular greetings on this glorious day.
This is a time when we honor St. Patrick for his missionary achievements some 1,500 springtimes ago, and all the Irish for their accomplishments throughout history. They have done much for civilization throughout the world, and for America. We all recognize the Irish gift for the spoken and written word, for courage, for commitment and for kindness. Irish men and women have written some of our history's most memorable pages in war and in peace.
During the perilous days of our Nation's birth, nine of the signers of our Declaration claimed Irish ancestry and four were Irish-born. No fewer than 20 of our Revolutionary generals were Irish, and John Barry, often called the father of the United States Navy, hailed from County Wexford. Nor were Irishmen lacking among the framers of the Constitution whose bicentennial we celebrate this year. To this day, Irish-Americans continue their contributions to America -- after all, who brought the America's Cup home this year but a lad named Dennis Conner?
These are all facts, but should anyone accuse me of partiality I might happily plead guilty as charged. It's no secret where my heritage lies, and that's among the green glens and warm hearts of ``the land of song and story.''
To all the kin of St. Patrick, Nancy and I send best wishes for every blessing. And in Irish, Dia libh go leir -- God be with you all.