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Address by President Mary McAleese on the National Day of Mourning  

Statement by President McAleese to mark National Day of Mourning On this National Day of Mourning we take time to reflect on the horrendous events of the past few days in the United States. These horrible scenes represent an attack on the very foundations of our human dignity. We are sad, shocked, sickened, grieving, disbelieving, outraged, frightened all at once. We are only beginning to hear the human stories, the unbearable reports of final phonecalls of love, of the heroism of so many, the loss of so many. These stories will continue to unfold for many days and weeks to come, bringing with them a growing realisation of the full extent of the pain and sorrow that is the gruesome legacy of these awful acts of hatred. The people of the United States hold a special place in the hearts of all of us here in Ireland. The roots go down through the centuries and are as strong today as they ever were. Our first thoughts therefore are with the American people as they try to cope with the magnitude of what has happened in their great country. To the bereaved, the injured and to those awaiting news of their loved ones, we send our prayers, our deepest sympathy and our support. And we in Ireland face our own share of this tragedy. We only have to look at the photograph of the beautiful faces of Ruth Clifford McCourt and her gorgeous little girl Julianna to see with our own eyes the loss which Ireland too has experienced. There are deep worries about other loved ones missing, still unaccounted for, and we pray for the Irish families who wait to hear some word and who hope for any possible consolation. We have watched in admiration as the rescue services work ceaselessly to locate the victims of these attacks and sadly, we now know that many of the emergency personnel have themselves perished in the course of their duties. Their heroic, loving care for the stranger stands in sharp contrast to the evil of those who perpetrated these horrors. Our Embassy and Consulates in the United States and Government Departments at home are deeply involved in providing caring assistance to our Irish family here and in the United States and we thank them for the kindness and sensitivity with which they go about this difficult work. This National Day of Mourning is a very special opportunity for all of us to show solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the United States of America. It sends a message across the Atlantic and indeed around the globe that Ireland too is brokenhearted and grieving deeply at the unconscionable waste of life we have witnessed this week. God bless those in the United States, those in Ireland and all those men, women and little children throughout the world who have been personally, profoundly affected by this tragedy. May God guide us safely through these troubled days.

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