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.
Today, tens of millions of Americans proudly trace their heritage to the Emerald Isle. They are descendants of our founding fathers, heirs to a resilient spirit forged during the Great Hunger and painful periods of discrimination, and the latest in a long line of Irish Americans who have poured their energy and passion into perfecting our union. With grit and determination, they have enhanced our communities, bolstered our economy, and strengthened our nation. And their brogue continues to ring out from our halls of government and every place people strive to make our society more free, more fair, and more just.
The Irish story is one of hope and resolve – in it Americans see our own dreams and aspirations. Our pasts are bound by blood and belief, by culture and commerce, and our futures are equally, inextricably linked.
During Irish-American Heritage Month, let us celebrate the people-to-people ties between our nations and continue together our work to forge a brighter tomorrow for every American and Irish child.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day and the “wearin’ of the green.” Enjoy yourself, dance a jig, and keep safe.
Copyright 2015, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist