WASHINGTON, D.C. - It's a long time since Easter 1916 was invoked in the U.S. Congress, but Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Bertie Ahern did just that last Wednesday, April 30.
The retiring taoiseach was on his victory lap of the U.S., and a Joint Session of Congress had been arranged for him.
Up until recent years the legacy of Easter 1916 and the Irish uprising was a deeply disputed one. Opponents of the IRA campaign claimed that the Rising had given their cause spurious legitimacy. Supporters stated it was Ireland's foundation legacy, the very touchstone around which the modern state was built.
Until Ahern reinstituted the annual 1916 march and commemoration in 2006, the numbers who feared to speak about Easter week was far greater than those who wanted to remember it.
Easter 1916 was finally put back in its correct place atop the pantheon of Irish history by Ahern's remarks in Washington.
He quoted the most remarkable passage in the proclamation: "The Re-public guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and all its parts, cherishing all the children of the nation equally."
The words are resonant of the Declaration of Independence, especially on the pursuit of happiness. They also place in perspective the remarkable vision of Ireland's founders as surely as the Declaration of Independence did for Jefferson and Washington and all the others.
Ahern's speech captured the new moment perfectly, and by making it before the great institutions created by the American founders he gave the men of Easter 1916 even greater legitimacy.
Last Wednesday was also Ahern's last hurrah in the U.S, and a number of American politicians had turned up to wish him Godspeed.
The great chamber of the House of Representatives was full and Irish leaders of our era - Senator Edward Kennedy, Senator Patrick Leahy, Congressmen Pete King, Ritchie Neal and Jim Walsh among them - had turned up to say farewell to one of the most popular Irish politicians ever on this side of the Atlantic.
It was a moment to savor, especially for those American politicians like Kennedy who had played such a massive role in helping bring peace to Ireland.
For decades the leaders of Ireland had appealed for more time and patience and American help to bring peace to the troubled island. Throughout, Ted Kennedy above all held the hand of welcome out and strived to help as much as he could. There were many setbacks along the way, but Kennedy was always a beacon light to keep hope alive.
Now here, at last, was an Irish leader announcing mission accomplished. Little wonder that Kennedy in particular seemed jubilant on this day. His decision to bring a full court press on the Gerry Adams visa back in 1994 request played a huge role in the American part in the peace process.
Press reports in Ireland bemoaned the fact that the number of elected representatives present at the Joint Session to hear Ahern talk was not greater.
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Jesus Christ and Santa Claus are both nothing more than myths. The myth of Jesus is based on numerous preceding myths of an immortal World Savior. ToMegyn Kelly says Santa and Jesus are white, get used to it (VIDEO)
If you have been around Greeks and Turks, you will realize that both are very light skinned. I would say that the Christ was swarthy somewhat like SicMegyn Kelly says Santa and Jesus are white, get used to it (VIDEO)
So much for the Christmas spirit. Shame on the three people who brought this up and are arguing about it in the first place. All of you, what ever haIrish outrage over NY Times pigeon-eating and desperate economic times article
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