[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1998, Book I)]
[March 12, 1998]
[Page 367]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

[[Page 367]]

Message on the Observance of Saint Patrick's Day, 1998
March 12, 1998

    Warmest greetings to everyone celebrating Saint Patrick's Day. On 
this day dedicated to Ireland's great patron saint, I join millions of 
other Americans across our country in remembering with pride the roots 
of our Irish heritage.
    As it has been for so many immigrants, America has always been a 
beacon of hope for the Irish people. And the Irish people have always 
been a source of light and energy to keep that beacon shining brightly. 
They arrived with little. But the Irish did not come to America empty-
handed. They brought with them strong arms and an even stronger spirit 
that would help to build our nation's great canals, bridges, and 
railroads; that would wrest coal from Pennsylvania's mines and raise the 
skyscrapers of New York City. They brought with them a love of words 
that enriched American journalism and literature. They brought a great 
reverence for education and built schools across the country renowned 
for their scholarship and social conscience.
    Perhaps their greatest gifts to America have been an abiding love of 
liberty and a patriotic spirit. Irish Americans have served with 
distinction in every American conflict, from the Revolutionary War to 
the Persian Gulf, and their keen sense of social justice made them among 
the first and most effective voices for labor reform. Generations of 
Irish Americans entered public service to reach out to those in need--to 
feed the poor, find jobs for the unemployed, fight for racial equality, 
and champion social reform.
    The United States continues to draw strength and vision from our 
multicultural, multiracial society. As we celebrate Saint Patrick's Day 
once again, we remember with special pride the gifts of Irish Americans: 
faith in God, lilt and laughter, love of family and community, and an 
unswerving commitment to freedom and justice that continues to enrich 
our nation.
    Best wishes to all for a wonderful celebration.

                                                            Bill Clinton