[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents Volume 37, Number 11 (Monday, March 19, 2001)]
[Pages 454-455]
[Online from the Government Printing Office, www.gpo.gov]

<R04>
Message on the Observance of Saint Patrick's Day, 2001

March 16, 2001

    I am pleased to send warm greetings to those celebrating St. 
Patrick's Day. Each year on March 17, joyous events commemorate the 
remarkable life of Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. Born in Britain 
many centuries ago, Patrick was captured as a teenager by pirates and 
sold into slavery in Ireland. During six years of forced labor as a 
herdsman, he looked to his religious faith for sustenance.
    Patrick eventually escaped and returned to Britain, where he dreamed 
that he was being called to serve as a missionary. He began to study for 
the priesthood and returned to Ireland, dedicating his life to preaching 
Christianity. Patrick endured hardship and suffering, but his bravery 
and devotion to his faith became legendary in the hearts and minds of 
the Irish people.
    Centuries later, St. Patrick's Day pays tribute to an incredible 
hero and to the rich cultural heritage of the Emerald Isle. Countless 
Americans symbolically proclaim Irish ancestry by taking part in the 
festivities celebrating the stories and traditions of Ireland. St. 
Patrick's Day is also a time to honor the contributions of Irish 
Americans to our Nation's history and way of life, enriching the United 
States in great measure.

[[Page 455]]

    As we move into the 21st century, Americans look forward to 
continued friendship and goodwill with the people of Ireland. Laura 
joins me in sending best wishes for a wonderful St. Patrick's Day.
                                                George W. Bush