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"Throughout our history, America
has welcomed millions of Irish immigrants to its shores.
These proud people arrived seeking a better life for
themselves, their families, and future generations. Many
courageous individuals came during the terrible years of
Ireland's Great Famine in the middle of the 19th century,
and their road to prosperity was not easy. Many faced
significant obstacles, including discrimination and poverty.
Despite these challenges, Irish Americans have risen to
success in every sector of our society.
"Americans of Irish descent have played a
vital role in shaping our history and culture. One-third to
one-half of the American troops during the Revolutionary War
and 9 of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence
were Irish Americans. Irish Americans explored our
frontiers, built many of our Nation's bridges, canals, and
railroads, and their proud record of public service helped
to fortify our democracy."
President George W. Bush Proclamation, February 28, 2003
Of the total 3,440 individual Americans who
have been awarded the Medal of Honor, at least 261 were born in
Ireland, and scores of others were the children and grand children
of Irish immigrants. Thousands more Irish-Americans served
with honor and distinction in defense of freedom for their adopted
homeland. Their service, and impact on our culture, is
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