Saint Patrick's Day, 1996|
Read by the Honorable Benjamin A. Gillman, New York
Proceedings and Debates of the 104th Congress, Second Session
House of Representatives
Mr. Gilman of New York: Mr. HALL. Mr. GILMAN. Mr. Speaker, the promotion of peace and justice, along with long term and shared economic development on the beloved Emerald Isle, are important items of concern to millions of Americans of Irish descent, particularly at this time of year as we all join again in celebrating yet another glorious St. Patrick's Day.
These important issues of peace and justice also concern all of Ireland's many friends here and around the globe, especially now once again with the misguided return to violence by some few frustrated with the pace of the peace process and needed change on the ground in the north of Ireland today. Ireland and its warm, generous people have long had a fond affection for America, as President Clinton learned when he triumphantly toured the whole island late last year. There we all witnessed first hand, the genuine warmth and love of the Irish people for America, and the respect for the President's outstanding leadership in promoting peace on the island.
The President has done much through his effort at promoting peace in Ireland to in some small way, pay back that nation that has also given America so much. With the current breakdown in the progress toward lasting peace, it is time for the President to take the next step, and appoint that promised peace envoy, which many believe is needed to get the process back on track. Former Senator George Mitchell, who served so well as head of the International Body dealing with the arms issue, would be an ideal candidate for the position, in my opinion. I urge the President to make such an appointment of a peace envoy at this critical time in Irish history.
|Congressional Record Entry|
February 29, 1996
The tragic and misguided returned to violence recently by some who mistakenly believe that justice can be obtained through terrorism, death, and destruction, must end. The IRA cease fire must be restored, the bombings ended, and peaceful means and dialog resumed immediately, or the nationalist cause will suffer even greater damage in world opinion. As we once again examine at this particular time of year, the impact the Irish have had on America, and why the U.S. has a responsibility to remain engaged in the efforts to bring about lasting peace and justice in Ireland, it is worth remembering their many sacrifices and contributions to our great Nation.
President Clinton addressing a joint session of the Irish parliament in Dublin on his trip last year, mentioned the 200,000 Irish who bravely fought for the Union cause in our civil war. Many Irish officers and soldiers also distinguished themselves in ending British rule over the colonies, during the earlier American revolution. Once here in this great land, and taking full advantage of the American dream, the Irish fought and died for this Nation, and excelled in every way and walk of American life. Few from the World War II generation can forget, a young Irish lad named Audie Murphy who on the battlefields of eastern France, became one of the Nation's most decorated veterans. He received the Medal of Honor and 27 other decorations, including the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, and the Croix de Guerre with Palm.
In fact, since Congress established the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1863, there have been a remarkable 250 or more Irish who have earned this Nation's highest honor. No other nationality, even comes close to that astonishing record of valor and courage in service of this great Nation.
The sons and daughters of Ireland, their families and many friends here in America, are all grateful for our Government and its leaders' efforts, from both parties, to help pay back those remarkable sacrifices. The President has worked hard to bring peace and justice to their ancestral homeland, which every Irishman holds near and dear to his or her heart. We must all continue to work to keep peace in Ireland on the top of America's foreign policy agenda today, as I and others will do here in the Congress.
While helping make America great, the Irish have never forgotten, from whence they proudly came, as anyone who has marched in, or witnessed the grand Saint Patrick's Day parade down 5th Avenue in New York City each year. Today, more than 40 million Americans have ancestral links to Ireland, many as a result of the large immigration that followed the great famine, as well as the years before and after, that terrible and destructive human tragedy.
This year's Saint Patrick's parade Grand Marshal is William Flynn the CEO of Mutual of America in New York City. He is a great man, duly deserving of this high honor, who has dedicated himself to peace in Ireland, and has worked tirelessly to bring about lasting peace and justice, as have so many of his fellow Irish Americans.
The Irish in America, and their many friends have long played a role in assuring that our Government and elected leaders have not forgotten that the problems of Ireland did not end with the great famine. Together we have worked hard to insure that the people of Ireland never again face such terrible hardships, and depravation of basic human rights and human dignity.
We must also all continue to work for a permanent end to the troubles in Ireland, through a just and lasting peace. I know we will eventually see lasting peace and justice a permanent feature on that beautiful Emerald Isle in the Irish Sea. It is the hope and dream of all of us as we approach St. Patrick's Day once again.