Mayor of Galway
COUNCILLOR DONAL LYONS MEARA NA GAILLIMHE
18th December 2014
To The Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum
Five score and fifty years ago my predecessor sent a letter of condolence to the American people following the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. 150 years on from that message of sympathy from the Mayor of Galway to a bereaved nation, I am honoured to correspond on behalf of my city and its citizens on what the legacy of Abraham Lincoln means to us here on the West coast of Ireland.
Abraham Lincoln was one of the finest ever political writers and speech-makers and his words resonate deeply with the people of Galway. Lincoln's life and legacy casts a long shadow and a quote of his that I've always reflected upon and adhered to is: "The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew."
Lincoln's ability to energize the nation in times of strife by appealing to its best ideals was one of his legendary skills. In the face of the recent difficulties that the Irish economy has weathered, these words from Lincoln provide solace in trying times: "It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words: 'And this, too, shall pass away.' How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction!"
Lincoln set an example as a statesman in his ability to unite people. His leadership qualities, accomplishments in times of crisis, and the depth of his integrity provide a high water mark for all involved in government: "A house divided against itself cannot stand." Lincoln's impact as a self-made man is an inspiration to us all. Born into poverty in a log cabin, he rose via self education and determination to the highest office in his land, and his words remind us of what we need to know but may have forgotten: "You have to do your own growing no matter how tall your grandfather was."
The Lincoln legacy is something he himself reflected upon and today he can be seen to have more than fulfilled his destiny: "Die when I may, I want it said by those who knew me best that I always plucked a thistle and planted a flower where I thought a flower would grow." A century and a half after Abraham Lincoln's untimely passing we continue to be inspired by the words and deeds of the 16th President of the United States, and in closing I would like to leave you with these words of his: "The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time."
Councillor Donal Lyons,
Mayor of the City of Galway, Ireland.
CITY HALL, GALWAY, IRELAND. TELEPHONE: 091-536400 FACSIMILE: 091-567493