morning, and thank you, Commander Loesch, for that
kind introduction. Thank you all for joining
We owe a special thanks to American Legion Post
56 for organizing and holding this annual Memorial
Day wreath laying ceremony. This is a special
day for all of us at the Bureau, and the efforts
of Post 56 make this a truly memorable event every
It is fitting that we all come together here in
the Courtyard today for this Memorial Day observance.
I say this because the connection between the Bureau
and our armed forces has always been strong.
in the FBI are tremendously proud to have so many
veterans and reservists as part of our family.
We are proud of the sacrifices you have made for
our country when you have put on your uniform.
this bond goes beyond the military service of FBI
employees. It exists in the call to serve
that is steeped in the culture of both the armed
forces and the Bureau.
We serve for the same reasons. We love our
country. We love that it stands for freedom,
not tyranny; liberty, not subjugation; justice,
We also understand that the liberties we enjoy in
this country have not come to us easily, and we
are prepared to make sacrifices to maintain them.
Sometimes, that means making the ultimate sacrifice.
weeks ago, we memorialized the members of the law
enforcement community who gave their lives in the
line of duty at the Blue Mass at St. Patrick's Church
in Washington. Today, we memorialize those
members of the FBI family who gave their lives in
the line of military duty.
At the first Memorial Day commemoration in
1868, James Garfield, who was a Civil War general
before he became President, addressed 5,000 participants
at Arlington National Cemetery with these words:
am oppressed with a sense of the impropriety of
uttering words on this occasion. If silence
is ever golden, it must be here beside the graves
of 15,000 men whose lives were more significant
than speech and whose death was a poem the music
of which can never be sung."
What was true then is true now -- words are not
adequate for what we remember today. We come
together on Memorial Day to honor those who made
the ultimate sacrifice in defense of their country.
Roughly 42 million Americans have served in the
military in a time of war. Approximately 1.2
million never came home.
though our words can never match their deeds, we
cannot let this day pass in silence.
From Arlington National Cemetery to our smallest
towns, millions and millions of Americans will gather
for ceremonies and parades. We will honor
all who have fallen in battle to preserve our way
of life, and we will say proudly as a nation: we
55 years, the entire FBI family, led by Post 56,
has remembered as well. Today we honor the
FBI employees and the members of the FBI family
killed in the line of military duty by placing a
wreath in the Courtyard.
This simple act delivers the deepest tribute. There
is a price for freedom, but this sacrifice is not
in vain. These men and women lived to defend
freedom and protect their fellow citizens.
By doing so, they have secured the blessings of
liberty for us. With this wreath, we do remember,
and thank them for all they have done.
I would like to thank all of you again for attending
this ceremony today and extend our gratitude to
Post 56 for organizing the wreath laying.
As we depart for our long Memorial Day weekend,
let us keep our current defenders, those serving
in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere throughout the
world, in our thoughts and prayers. And let
us never forget the individuals we honor here today
and all those who have laid down their lives in
defense of this country. Ours is a debt that
can never be repaid, but must always be honored.
We owe it to those individuals and we owe it to
this country to do so.