Mr Vice-President, I want to the thank you and Karen and your family for inviting me once again to your home. Last year, you said that my partner, Matt, would be welcome to join. We are both very honoured to accept that invitation this year.
I really hope that you will be able to accept my invitation to visit Ireland very soon. I can guarantee you that a warm welcome is waiting for you, especially in County Sligo and County Clare.
And you absolutely must bring your mother. I had the pleasure of making her acquaintance last year, we’ve been in correspondence once or twice since then.
One thing that I found extraordinarily memorable is that she has some words of Irish and she knows some rhymes as Gaeilge, and lots of aspects of Irishness continued as Irish people crossed the pond and came to America, but very few people maintained any words of the old language from the old country, and that’s something really special and I think she would be extraordinarily welcome in Ireland.
I know that Karen is in Abu Dhabi at the Special Olympics at the moment. As I mentioned earlier, Ireland hosted the World Summer Games back in 2003. It was the first time that they were staged outside the United States in fact and the whole country was really gripped by the atmosphere. It was the largest mobilisation of volunteers ever in Ireland and was truly a magical time.
And Mr Vice President, while Karen is there supporting Team America, you might ask her to give a very special shout out to our Irish athletes as well.
Mr Vice President, growing up in Ireland I loved following American politics – ‘It’s morning in America’, ‘A thousand points of light’, ‘The man from Hope’.
It helped inspire me to believe in the power of politics to do good, to think about running for office myself someday, of being involved in making the laws and driving change.
But I also knew that I lived in a country where if I tried to be myself it would involve breaking the laws.
Today all of that has changed.
I stand here this morning as leader of my country, flawed and human, but judged on my political actions and mistakes and not on my sexual orientation or my skin tone or my gender or my religious beliefs.
I do not believe my country is the only one in the world where my story is possible. It is found in every country where freedom and liberty are cherished. We are, after all, all God’s children.
It’s true of the United States, the land and home of the brave and the free. Where the promise of America inspires boys and girls growing up to dream big dreams, and inspires others around the world to do the same.
E pluribus unum has now become a universal truth.
Out of many we have become one.
In times of struggle, we struggle together.
In times of peace, we work together.
In times of need, we help each other.
Men and women who came to these shores centuries ago searching for religious freedom, political liberty, and a new life, created a shining city on a hill. Created a dream that travelled around the world. A dream that reached our shores across the Atlantic and inspired us to believe we could be better.
The greatest dream of all is the one that is passed between generations and is never dimmed.
So, this morning, I want to thank you for your wonderful hospitality and say: ‘God bless the United States of America’. And ‘God bless Ireland’.