Receiving an honorary doctorate from his alma mater at a ceremony at the British Consulate in New York on Wednesday night, Liam Neeson spoke publicly for the first time since the death of wife Natasha Richardson.
“I think it is a message that a university always gives its students in the end: It’s time to move on, get one with your life. I got on with mine, and I’m still getting on,” he said about his time at Queens University Belfast. He also quoted poet Paul Muldoon on how art helps the heart heal (art “builds from pain, from misery, from a deep-seated hurt, a monument to the human heart that shines like a golden dome among roofs rain-glazed and leaden”).
According to Irish Central, his two sons Michael and Daniel chuckled as their dad made his grand entrance. The two boys, who sat near the podium, were given a playful wink by their dad.
“Everybody assumes that actors are great public speakers,” Neeson said as he apologized for reading his speech from notes. “It’s terrifying. Forgive me for reading it.”
At the end of his speech, Neeson got choked up, barely able to utter his ending line: “I’m a deeply honored and humbled man from Ballymena tonight.”