Ireland’s Taoiseach Visits The Wall

By Michael McMahon

Michael McMahon and Taoiseach Enda Kenny

Michael McMahon and Taoiseach Enda Kenny

On Saturday I had the privilege of conducting a tour of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial for Ireland’s “Taoiseach,” or Prime Minister, Enda Kenny, his wife and three adult children.  He is in the United States for official meetings, and is scheduled to participate in several St. Patrick’s Day events.

Saturday afternoon they visited sites on the National Mall including the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The opportunity to handle the tour came about very unexpectedly, and at first I did not realize it was the Prime Minister.  He and his family were very interested in the Memorial and the Vietnam era.  I spent an hour with them walking through the Memorial, providing background on its history, interpreting Maya Lin’s design, answering their questions, and sharing the experience of serving in Vietnam.  Barbara Warner took these pictures with her cell phone.  Prime Minister Kenny is in the sweater and sunglasses.  The second picture is the Prime Minister with Jeri McMahon.

Kenny with volunteer Jeri McMahon

Kenny with volunteer Jeri McMahon

During the tour I stopped to do a name rubbing of 1LT John C. Driver (Panel 27W, Row 99.)  1LT Driver served in Vietnam with the United States Army and died April 17, 1969.  His home of record is Ringsend, Dublin, Ireland.  I gave the rubbing to the Prime Minister and his family as a remembrance of their visit.

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