When the sound system returned, Kennedy seemed nonplussed, almost amused. Word of Minihan's local rebellion, captured in humorous press accounts about the dung heap, had come to his attention. As he got up to speak, the president introduced his two sisters, Jean and Eunice, then recalled his family's ties to the thousands of Irish who had fled the Famine's death and despair, his great-grandfather Patrick Kennedy among them, and journeyed from places like New Ross to find a new home as immigrants in America.
"It took a hundred and fifteen years to make this trip, and six thousand miles, and three generations, but I am proud to be here," the president told the crowd. "When my great-grandfather left here to become a cooper in East Boston, he carried nothing with him except two things: a strong religious faith and a strong desire for liberty. I am glad to say that all of his great-grandchildren have valued that inheritance."
From the book, THE KENNEDYS: America's Emerald Kings, by Thomas Maier; Copyright © 2003. Reprinted by arrangement with Basic Books, a member of the Perseus Books Group. All rights reserved.