The following are extracts from Éamon de Valera’s wartime St. Patrick’s Day message 1920 beseeching the Irish Diaspora at a time of war. Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh go léir
Sons and daughters of the Gael, wherever you be today, in the name of the motherland, greetings. Whatever flag be the flag you guard and cherish, it is consistent with your highest duty to link yourselves together to use your united strength to break the chains that bind our sweet, sad mother. And never before have the scattered children of Éire had such an opportunity for noble service. Today you can serve not only Ireland but the world. A cruel war and a more cruel peace have shattered the generous of soul. Apathy mocks the high minded, and heartless cynicism points the way of selfishness. We the children of a race that has endured for ages the blight of war and the disappointment of peace, who have had the cup of the fruition of hope dashed from our lips in every decade and have not despaired, whose temper has never soured but who have always looked forward for the good in tomorrow. The world needs what we can give it today.
Once before, our people gave their souls to a barbarian continent and led brute materialism to an understanding of higher things. It is still our mission to show the world the might of moral duty, to teach mankind peace and happiness in keeping the law of love, doing to our neighbour what we would have our neighbour do to us. We are the spear point of the hosts in political slavery. We can be the shaft of dawn for the despairing and the wretched everywhere.
And those of our race, citizens of this mighty land of America whose thought will help to mould the policy of the leader among the nations, how much the world looks to you this St. Patrick’s Day, hopes in you, trusts in you. You can so easily accomplish that which is needed. You have only to have the will – the way is so clear. What would not the people of the old land give for the power which is yours? May God and St. Patrick inspire you to use it and to use it well.