June 18, 2015
Dear J1 Student,
Earlier this week, our flag at the U.S. Embassy in Dublin flew at half-mast in remembrance of the J1 students who lost their lives in the June 16 Berkeley tragedy. These six young people had much to offer each of our countries, and my thoughts and prayers are with the families, loved ones, and friends. I will continue to do whatever I can to offer support to those affected and my deepest sympathies.
This is a devastating experience for everyone involved. Even as we all grieve this terrible loss, we here at the U.S. Embassy would encourage you to remain strong, and draw upon the deep well of strength that the Irish are known for around the world. There will be times in your life where you’re challenged, when tragedy strikes and you’re left to pick up the pieces. In these moments, it becomes even more important to join together with friends and find strength in supporting one another.
Friendship has always been at the root of the J1 summer work and travel program. As we’ve seen over the last 50 years with more than 150,000 Irish participating, it has created bonds of friendship between U.S. and Irish youth that last a lifetime.
We hope you will take comfort in unwavering U.S. support for Ireland during this difficult time. You are sending a powerful signal to the world of the Irish capacity to pull together in the face of tragedy with friendship, generosity and perseverance.
Kevin F. O’Malley
U.S. Ambassador to Ireland