Finding friends in the hardest hours
It took a tragedy to make an ocean as vast as the Atlantic seem small. The reaching out of Americans, in particular the Irish-American community, and the warmth which enveloped those whose lives were changed forever this week showed how, when it comes to suffering, the world really can be a global village.
Berkeley almost became an Irish parish as the tricolours and tributes were left to the J1 students whose lives ended on Kittredge Street. They were far from home, but the compassion and comfort to the injured survivors and to the stricken families of the bereaved made the strange familiar.
Mary McAleese put it well some time ago: "The immigrant's heart marches to the beat of two quite different drums, one from the old homeland and the other from the new. The immigrant has to bridge these two worlds, living comfortably in the new and bringing the best of his or her ancient identity and heritage to bear on life in an adopted homeland."