The American Ireland Fund 9/11 Anniversary

11th September, 2011 : New York

The American Ireland Fund marked the 9/11 Anniversary with World Premiere of Irish Lament from Renowned Composer Mícheál O Súilleabháin in Dublin.

Ireland’s President and Prime Minister to join U.S. Ambassador during commemoration for all lives lost including over 1,000 of Irish descent.

Ambassador Rooney’s Remarks at 9/11 Ceremony

New York, September 9, 2011 – Ireland’s solidarity with the United States and the tragic loss of almost 3,000 lives on 9/11 – over one third of whom were of Irish descent – will be marked with the world premiere of a poignant Irish lament in Dublin, Ireland, Sunday. Performed by the Irish Chamber Orchestra in front of a distinguished Irish American audience, the unique composition, titled Termon, was commissioned by The American Ireland Fund from renowned Irish composer, Mícheál O Súilleabháin. Derived from the Gaelic word “tearmann” meaning place of sanctuary, Termon features the uniquely Irish wind instrument, the uilleann pipes.

The concert at the Royal Dublin Society’s concert hall is the United States’ official commemoration of the 9/11 anniversary in Ireland – A Ceremony of Reflection and Peace. Hosted by the U.S. Ambassador, Dan Rooney, the ceremony and its center-piece, the recital of Termon, will be attended by Ireland’s President, Mary McAleese, and the Taoiseach (Prime Minister), Enda Kenny.

President and CEO of The Worldwide Ireland Funds, Kieran McLoughlin, said, “This tragic yet beautiful Irish lament by Mícheál is a symbolic act of profound solidarity between the Irish people and the people of the United States of America. In the days following that barbarous attack on the free world, the roll-call of victims pierced the hearts of Irish people right across the world as over 1,000 people of Irish descent perished, included six Irish citizens. Citizens of all nations who died that day, their surviving families and their loved ones, will remain in our hearts and prayers forever.”

McLoughlin continued, “A decade ago The Worldwide Ireland Funds donated $1 million to organizations in the U.S. working with the survivors and their families. This Sunday, we maintain that unbroken bond of solidarity by pausing to remember those we lost through this unique and powerful traditional Irish tribute.”

Composer of Termon, Mícheál O Súilleabháin added, “The composition invokes the sacred space of boundaries and thresholds. It seeks to facilitate a listening at the borders of difference, and to reach towards a shared sanctuary of sound.”

CEO of the Irish Chamber Orchestra, John Kelly, said, “The Irish Chamber Orchestra is honored to be part of this commemorative event. We are very aware of the deep connections between Ireland and the U.S. and the impact of this tragedy on both our nations. We look forward to performing Mícheál O Súilleabháin’s new work on our upcoming U.S. tour which culminates in the heart of New York, at the Lincoln Center, on the 31st October.”

The American Ireland Fund is a philanthropic network that supports worthy causes in Ireland and around the world. Our mission is to be the largest network of friends of Ireland dedicated to supporting programs of peace and reconciliation, arts and culture, education and community development throughout the island of Ireland. Founded in 1976, The Worldwide Ireland Funds currently operate in 12 countries and have raised over $370 million for more than 1,200 outstanding organizations.

Go raibh maith agat, Ryan

Madame President, An Taoiseach, Distinguished Ambassadors, Honored Guests, Friends:


Today we gather in solemn remembrance of those who were killed, ten years ago. The images of skyscrapers brought down, of our nation’s capital under attack, of the smoking wreckage in a lonely field in Pennsylvania, are seared in our memory. Ten years ago, today, the world stopped in horror and stood by our side. Ten years ago, our hearts were broken with grief.

Our hearts are still heavy with the burden of grief, the heaviness of loss and the silent prayers in the nighttime of loved ones left behind.

Now we pause, in grateful wonder, for all those who selflessly rushed into harm’s way to help others on that tragic day. These heroes, these firemen, these policemen, first-responders, clergy, soldiers, colleagues, brothers, sisters, who did not run from danger, but ran into danger. We salute some of these brave men who are with us in this place.

Today we honor heroes. Heroes are ordinary people who do extraordinary things. Heroes rise to meet the challenge. Heroes are ordinary people on a plane over Shanksville who, in the instant of opportunity, united to fight rather than give up. Heroes are those who, rather than allow another attack on our nation’s Capitol, rose as one from their seats on a plane. Greater love hath no man than this – that he would give his life for others.

Today we honor the memories of those who have given their lives in the long struggle against terrorism. We honor those who have answered the call to protect the United States and our friends. We honor those who serve, and have served, in every corner of the world threatened by an evil ideology that attempts to assert itself through vicious and terrifying attacks on peaceful civilians.

We gather together to show that these terrorist attacks have failed. Though thousands of innocents have fallen, not to rise, those who have used terror have failed. Individuals, communities, and nations have shown they are stronger than fear. Though we are ever mindful of our losses, our deep and painful losses, today we together look forward to the future. We look forward to a better and brighter future. We stand together, today in this place of remembrance, and every day looking forward to a time without fear, without war.

We thank all those countries who have joined with us in friendship in our struggle. Ireland is such a friend. Today, across Ireland, there are many such gatherings of remembrance. We Americans are so grateful that we do not stand alone. We are grateful for your friendship.

Today we are in the presence of heroes. We honor the memory and selfless service of those who have given their lives so that we might live without fear.

Go dté sibh slán

It is my honor to introduce President Mary McAleese. She, too, is a hero. She and her husband Senator McAleese are ordinary people who have done extraordinary things. They are heroes. They have devoted their lives to bringing peace and reconciliation to this beautiful island.