Message on the Observance of St. Patrick's Day, 1986

March 14, 1986

Nancy and I wish everyone a very happy St. Patrick's Day. This is the feast day of the Apostle of Ireland and a time to celebrate the heritage of Irish Americans, their part in building America and preserving our freedom, and the long friendship and close ties between the peoples of the United States and Ireland.

We're told that one in six Americans can claim Irish ancestry. The Reagan family certainly does. We're separated from Erin by several generations and by an ocean -- but those of Irish descent know that such small matters are no barriers at all in affairs of the heart like ours with the Emerald Isle.

That's especially so on St. Patrick's Day, when we remember with pride the accomplishments of the Irish around the globe and here in America. The affinity of the Irish and American peoples is natural and rewarding. Our shared commitment to democratic values, liberty and freedom binds us closely as we work together to build a world in which these values will flourish.

So, on this St. Patrick's Day, let's celebrate a rich heritage and a deep friendship, and let's resolve to keep doing so ``while grass grows green in Erin.'' God bless you -- or in Irish -- ``Beannacht De Ort.''

Ronald Reagan