February 29, 1988

Nancy and I are proud and pleased to wish everyone a Happy St. Patrick's Day, especially Irish Americans and all of Ireland's own, at home and around the globe.

On St. Patrick's Day I seek to remind America and the world of the debt we owe to the Irish people, who through the ages have created and perpetuated a unique heritage of faith and freedom, of humor and hope, of scholarship and sanctity and sacrifice.

With faith and fearlessness St. Patrick brought Christianity to Ireland a millennium and a half ago. The annals reveal the Irish people's eagerness to embrace the faith and to keep it; that trait remains to this day, a tribute to the Apostle of Ireland and to his flock in every generation.

St. Patrick's Day is a time to recall as well the many links between Ireland and America -- perhaps, as some say, from the days of pre-Columbian Irish seafaring monks, but surely ever since the Irish people have known America as a land of liberty, justice, and opportunity.

As the ballad says, "And now to conclude and finish, as I have no more to say'' -- May America and Ireland always cherish each other and the kinship in which we hold St. Patrick's Day. And may God ever be our shield and our guide.

Ronald Reagan