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céad míle fáilte

Tucson St. Patrick’s Day President’s Message

“One Hundred Thousand Welcomes”

Greetings brothers and sisters.  The Tucson St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival Committee welcomes you to this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Celebration and wishes all of Tucson and Southern Arizona a very Happy St. Patrick’s Day for 2020.  We could not be happier or more proud to bring it to you. 


Our theme this year is “Cead Mile Failte” – A Hundred Thousand Welcomes.  The notorious Irish playwright, Brendan Behan, once said he thought that sentiment seemed excessive.  In our current place in history, we don’t think so – maybe one hundred thousand welcomes are not nearly enough.  We chose this theme because it touches on two significant aspects of the Irish character.


The first is generosity.  The Irish have a long-standing tradition from deep in our history of generosity to strangers, travelers and those in need, providing assistance in the form of food, shelter and spiritual support.  Turning people away with a blind eye and a cold heart is just not in the Irish character.  We pride ourselves in the practice of welcoming our brothers and sisters into our hearts and homes and sharing with them what we have - food, drink (sometime strong drink), a story, a dance and a song.  These acts of kindness and generosity have never been more necessary than at this point in history. 


The second is gratitude.  There’s a joke that asks:  “What is Irish Alzheimer's?” and the punch line is “That’s when you forget everything but the grudge.”  Well, an Irishman also never forgets a kindness.  This memory and gratitude is at the core of the Irish American experience and history.  This continent welcomed the Irish – many more than one hundred thousand times – and has given them the food, shelter, a story, a dance and a song.  It has also provided a purpose – to repay the many kindnesses shown by serving the continent and its people.  The concept and practice of service to all our relations has shaped the history and experience of the millions of Irish immigrants to this continent.  The concept and practice of service to the Tucson and Southern Arizona community is what motivates those of us at the Tucson St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival Committee.  We are proud to carry on this fine tradition.


In this spirit, we are proud to have Tucson Police Captain John Carlson as our Grand Marshal for the 2020 St. Patrick’s Day celebration.  With his 25 plus years of service to the Tucson community in the police force, John exemplifies the best of the tradition of Cead Mile Failte, generosity and gratitude.  Thank you, John, for accepting this position, your service to the Tucson community and for carrying the banner of this Irish tradition with grace and dignity. 


Further in this spirit, the Tucson St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival Committee is proud to continue to support The Scholarship Fund for the Children of Fallen Officers, a charity devoted to providing college scholarship funds to the children of first responders who have passed from us.  We honor their service and dedication by assisting their children's’ educational needs.  This is our heart and we are proud of it.


We thank each and every one of the attendees at this year’s events for coming out and enjoying the day with us and each other.  We take pride in providing you with food, drink, a story, a dance and a song.  We wish you Cead Mile Failte – a hundred thousand welcomes.  Enjoy the day, its yours.  Slainte, Tucson. 

John Murphy, Tucson St. Patrick's Day Committee President

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