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As St.  Patrick’s Day approaches, many prepare to become Irish for a day. From green clothing, beer, Irish coffee, tales of leprechauns, rainbows ending in pots of gold and toasts with a decidedly Irish lilt, the flavors of Ireland and its folklore become prominent at least for a day. Sanguine, witty and wise Irish blessings will fill the air and send a hopeful message to all. For example:

May peace and plenty bless your world
With a joy that long endures
And may all life's passing seasons
Bring the best to you and yours.

Not only is this a day of fun and hijinks, but a reminder that the majority of this country is populated by immigrants (and their descendants) who arrived under less-than-ideal circumstances. Although some families can claim generations of United States citizenship, constant integration of cultures from all walks of life ensure a vibrant society.  What is called “hybrid vigor” in the scientific community, is demonstrated by increased vitality of offspring from a mixture of genetic characteristics. So too does our society benefit from the infusion of new cultures, ideas and energy from those seeking to live in a socially mobile and democratic system.

One major factor that has propelled our country to the forefront of geopolitical influence and creativity is the influx of immigrants from all corners of the globe. A constant flow of new ideas and skillsets have ensured the continuation of the U.S. phenomenon. Our greater Tr-City area is fortunate to be a hub of this influx. Just as with all waves of immigrants, there is a difficult period of adjustment for all involved, but with time, we all become Americans while treasuring our heritage.

Memories of a foreign homeland should be treasured as vital components of who we are, tempered by the strength, values and advantages of uniting under the motto found on the Great Seal of the United States of America: E Pluribus Unum (out of many, one). Of course, the Irish have a saying about memories…

Always remember to forget
The things that made you sad.
But never forget to remember

The things that make you glad

One of the most quoted Irish blessings is especially poignant when facing an uncertain and perilous future. May we all find a “pot of gold” at the end of our rainbows.

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields,
And, until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand