US President Ronald Reagan addresses Dáil during a state visit to Ireland that day in 1984

There are few American presidents with a legacy comparable to that of Ronald Reagan.

The Hollywood actor-turned-politician became the oldest person to be elected to the Oval Office, at the age of 69 (a record since broken by Donald Trump and later by Joe Biden).

He became a very influential voice on modern conservatism, was at the forefront of America’s victory in the Cold War and the overthrow of the Soviet Union, and even survived an assassination attempt. .

His paternal great-grandparents were Irish Catholics from County Tipperary, and while other presidents, such as Kennedy and Biden for example, have closer ties to the Emerald Isle, Reagan was a firm believer in the importance of heritage and never forgot its own.

This will be clearly evident during his state visit to Ireland in 1984, where he spoke to the Dáil, thus strengthening the indissoluble bond between the two nations.

“When I got off Air Force One in Shannon [Airport] a few days ago, and I saw Ireland, beautiful and green, and I felt the warmth of its people again, something deep inside started to stir, “he said. It starts.

“Who knows if not that scientists will one day explain the complex genetic process by which generations seem to transfer, across time and even the oceans, their fondest memories.

“Until they do, I will have to lean on President Lincoln’s words about the ‘mystical chords of memory’ and tell you that in the last few days at every stop here in your country , these agreements were soft and moving.

“So I hope you don’t think too bold of me to say that my feelings here this morning can best be summed up by the words ‘home, home again’.”

Reagan went on to refer to the number of Irish-Americans “having a tendency to get carried away by our ancestral past”, but insisted that he had the credentials to be a true Irishman.

“I am the great-grandson of a man from Tipperary, I am president of a country with the closest possible ties to Ireland and I was a friend of Barry Fitzgerald,” he said. he declares.

He ended by simply acknowledging that “the American people know how deeply Ireland has affected our national heritage.”

Isn’t that the truth.

Kevin E. Boling

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