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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release March 8, 1994




The patchwork quilt of United States history is intricately woven with the many great deeds and memorable contributions of Irish Americans. Since the founding of our country, immigrants from the Emerald Isle have shared in weaving the fabric of a new nation. And it is in no small part their efforts that have made America a land of both unparalleled diversity and infinite promise.

Fleeing the Great Potato Famine of the 19th century, hundreds of thousands of Irish immigrants joined their cousins in the new world. They arrived to face the considerable challenges of an unfamiliar territory with untamed resources and a brewing conflict over the nature of freedom and selfgovernance. Yet these brave pioneers -- our grandparents and great-grandparents -- were filled with hope and a vision of a better life. From John F. Kennedy to Tip O'Neill, George M. Cohan to Flannery O'Connor, Irish Americans have graced our political and cultural life with a spirit born of the courage and idealism inspired by their ancestors.

Today, well over 200 years since the American colonies declared their independence, Irish Americans and people everywhere are again filled with hope. After centuries of conflict, we are deeply encouraged by the prospects for peace in Northern Ireland. We look forward to a day in the near future when the Irish strength of character and faith in justice bring lasting peace to this troubled land -- a day when their love for harmony overtakes the differences between religious traditions.

As we celebrate the vital bonds between our two great nations, I reaffirm my call for an end to all violence in Northern Ireland. In the great tradition of our common heritage, the people of the United States renew our pledge to the people of Ireland, rededicating ourselves to fostering understanding, cooperation, and peace.

In tribute to all Irish Americans, the Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 119, has designated March 1994 as "IrishAmerican Heritage Month" and has authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this month.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim March 1994 as Irish-American Heritage Month. I urge all Americans to observe this month with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eighth day of March, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and eighteenth.


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