Irish rock band U2’s music has been described as a “bridge between Ireland and America” by United States President Joe Biden.
He made the remarks at a White House reception ahead of the Kennedy Center Honours on Sunday, which saw the band awarded one of America’s most prestigious cultural awards.
The annual event recognises five stars from across music, screen and stage for their significant contribution to American culture.
The 2022 recipients also included actor George Clooney, singer Gladys Knight, singer-songwriter Amy Grant and composer Tania León.
During the event, President Biden described the United State sand Ireland as friends, linked in memory and imagination.
He said the members of U2 were inheritors of the Irish tradition of poetry and protest and had a belief in the dignity of all people.
Mr Biden said the band had changed the world over the past 40 years and continued to do so, quoting frontman Bono by saying “music can change the world because it can change people.”
“From this Irish-American president in a White House designed by Irish hands, I want to thank U2 for all you have done,” he said.
“You really make a difference.”
Mr Biden referenced lyrics from the band’s 1992 single One when discussing conflicts within the US and abroad.
“At a moment when there’s too much hate, too much anger, too much division here in America, and quite frankly, around the world,” he said.
“We have to remember today, as their song goes, ‘We’re one, but we’re not the same. We get to carry each other.”
Speaking at the formal presentation of the awards at the US State Department, Dave Evans, otherwise known as The Edge, said U2 were incredibly grateful and proud to receive the honour named after former president John F Kennedy.
Mr Evans noted U2 played their very first US concert 42 years ago on 6 December 1980.
“We had big dreams and like so many people in Ireland, America was the focus of those dreams,” he said.
“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.”
Made up of Bono, Adam Clayton, The Edge and Larry Mullen Jr, U2 formed in Dublin in 1976.
Throughout their career, the band have won 22 Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year for The Joshua Tree in 1988.
In 2005, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by Bruce Springsteen.
Source : bbc