Navy corpsmen help Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden into gowns before their meeting with patients and families during a Christmas visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., Dec. 25, 2011. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)
Irish Independent: His voice, that velvet-rich, immense voice, rose and soared and his words were carried by the wind down Dame Street, around College Green, up towards Christchurch, over the sea of people who had come to hear him.
“Is féidir linn. Yes we can. Yes we can. Is féidir linn,” Barack Obama called into the late afternoon as the electric air crackled around him … A massive cheer rumbled and rolled down the carpet of humanity crammed into the city centre.
They were still so powerful, those three small words that swept him into the White House on a wave of hope and a desire for change … And they lost none of their magic as they tumbled in Irish from the lips of one of the most extraordinary orators of our times.
It’s hard to see where all that power and poetry is contained in the slender frame of the 44th President of America, but on a blustery night in Dublin city, his charisma warmed the chilliest soul.
….Enda was only half way through his speech when a bone-rattling roar erupted in front of him. And out on to the stage, hand-in-hand, strode Barack and Michelle Obama, waving and smiling as a chant of “Obama, Obama” echoed around the buildings.
….Slowly and gracefully, the speech built momentum and Obama wove together the shared experiences of Ireland and America and paid tribute to the generations of immigrants who travelled from this country – as did his own great-great-great grandfather from Moneygall in 1850 – to put down roots in his land.
…Waves of emotion poured from the crowd, many of them young people who have suddenly found themselves facing bleak options at a time when their dreams are shattered.
Before the final cheers had quite subsided, he was down in front of the stage, shaking hands, cuddling babies, signing autographs, shooting the breeze.
…Obama didn’t let us down, and he left us with his unforgettable call to arms. “Ireland, if anyone ever says otherwise, if anybody ever tells you that your problems are too big, your challenges are too great and we can’t do something, that we shouldn’t even try, think about all that we’ve done together, remember that whenever hardships the winter may bring, springtime is always just around the corner.
“And if they keep on arguing with you, just respond with a simple creed – Is feidir linn. Yes we can.”