The world's first St. Patrick's Day parade took place on March 17, 1762, in New York City, featuring Irish soldiers serving in the English military. The parade became an annual event, with President Harry S. Truman attending in 1948.
Congress proclaimed March as Irish-American Heritage Month in 1995, and the president issues a proclamation each year. Here’s what President Obama had to say in this year’s proclamation:
The vibrant culture and rich heritage of the Irish people shaped many of the earliest chapters of America's story. Our common values and shared vision for the future laid the foundation for an eternal friendship between Ireland and the United States, and today, daughters and sons of Erin continue to enrich our Nation. This month, we reaffirm the bonds of affection between our two great countries, and we honor the courage and perseverance of the Irish-American community.