Were you there? Do you have a JFK story?
Share your JFK thoughts or memories at www.jfkhomecoming.com
The video is part of an exhibition and website which will open in Dublin, Ireland on June 21, 2013 at the National Library of Ireland in partnership with the U.S. Embassy, JFK Presidential Library in Boston, the National Archives and RTE.
Mike Feeney Callan
Sergeant Margaret Flanagan
Micheal O Muircheartaigh
Footage courtesy of RTE Archive.
FULL TEXT OF VIDEO:
If the day was clear enough, and if you went down to the bay, and you looked West,
and your sight was good enough, you would see Boston, Massachusetts.
It is strange that so many years could pass and so many generations pass and still
some of us could come here to Ireland and feel ourselves at home and not feel
ourselves in a strange country, but feel ourselves among neighbors, even though we
are separated by generations, by time, and by thousands of miles.
Our two nations, divided by distance, have been united by history. No people ever
believed more deeply in the cause of Irish freedom than the people of the United
And no country contributed more to building my own than your sons and
They came to our shores in a mixture of hope and agony, and they left
behind hearts, fields, and a nation yearning to be free.
It is no wonder that James Joyce described the Atlantic as a bowl of bitter tears, and an earlier poet wrote: "They
are going, going, going, and we cannot bid them stay."
But today this is no longer the country of hunger and famine. Nor is it any longer a
country of persecution, political or religious. It is a free country.
Great powers have their responsibilities and their burdens, but the smaller nations of
the world must fulfil their obligations as well.
The greatest art of the world was the work of little nations. The most enduring
literature of the world came from little nations. And the heroic deeds that thrill
humanity through generations were the deeds of little nations fighting for their freedom.
Those who may feel, that in these difficult times, who may believe that freedom may
be on the run, or that some nations may be permanently subjugated and eventually
wiped out, would do well to remember Ireland.
Modern economics, weapons and communications have made us realise more than ever that we are one human family and this one planet is our home.
Ireland is sending its most talented to do the world's most important work—the work of peace. You are not content to sit by your fireside while others are in need of your help. Nor are you content with the recollections of the past when you face the responsibilities of the present.
You have something to give to the world, and that is a future of peace with freedom.
George Bernard Shaw, speaking as an Irishman, summed up an approach to life:
"Other peoples," he said, "see things and say: `Why?' ... But I dream things that never were—and I say: `Why not?"'
It is that quality of the Irish, the combination of hope, confidence and imagination that is needed more than ever today. The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by sceptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities.
We need men who can dream of things that never were, and ask why not.
Your future is as promising as your past is proud, and your destiny lies not as a peaceful island in a sea of troubles, but as a maker and shaper of world peace.