March 17, 1962
“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 gripped 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
March 17, 1961
JFK PRESENTED IRISH SHAMROCK BOWL
The Irish ambassador to the United States, Thomas J. Kiernan, presented President Kennedy with the ceremonial bowl of shamrock in honor of Saint Patrick’s Day at the White House today.
JFK presented shamrock bowl by Ambassador Kiernan
Joining in the festivities was John E. Fogarty, congressman from Rhode Island, who once co-sponsored an Irish unification proclamation with JFK.
The ambassador also gave JFK a hand-printed scroll displaying the Kennedy coat of arms signed by Gerald Slevin the chief herald of Ireland.*
*JFK was so busy in his first months as President that he apparently forgot about it being St. Patrick’s Day so he had to have John “Muggsie” O’Leary provide him with a green tie.
“JFK’s First St. Patrick’s Day in the White House” by Michael P. Quinlin www.irishboston.blogspot.com, March 17, 2011