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05th Dec 2022

‘Poets in their own right’ – Joe Biden honours U2 at White House celebration

Fiona Frawley

u2 at awards ceremony with smaller image of joe biden embedded on the bottom right hand side

The four members of U2 were awarded the prestigious Kennedy Center Honor award by President Joe Biden, at a ceremony at the White House over the weekend.

Every year since 1978, the award honours five people who have made an outstanding contribution to US culture over their lifetime.

Along with U2, nominees this year included actor George Clooney, singer-songwriter Amy Grant, singer Gladys Knight and composer Tania León.

Speaking at the ceremony, President Biden said “To quote my friend Bono – music can change the world, music can change people”.

The President said that in their songs from Sunday Bloody Sunday to Pride to One, U2 had sang about the unspeakable cost of hate, anger and division and denial of freedom that humanity afflicted on one another as nations and as people.

At a moment we would do well to remember when there is too much hate, too much division and too much anger in America and, quite frankly, around the world, as [U2′s] song goes: “We are one, we are not the same, we get to carry each other….

…For more than 40 years U2 has changed the world – anthems about civil rights, solidarity of workers, the struggle for peace, ballads about love and family, concerts dedicated to ending poverty and disease.

Speaking on behalf of the band, Dave Evans, also known as The Edge, said:

We are incredibly grateful and proud to receive this honour named after a great American, John F. Kennedy, who also happens to be of Irish descent and this I have to say means so much to us

We had big dreams and like so many people in Ireland, America was the focus of those dreams. There is such a close bond between U2 and this country, and we can’t fully explain it but since that very first gig, we’ve always felt warmth and love, but this tonight goes way above and beyond.

Header image via Shutterstock 

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