Major Executive Speeches

Robert S. Mueller, III, Director, FBI
Funeral Mass of FBI Special Agent Leonard W. Hatton
Ridgefield Park, New Jersey
September 29, 2001

We in the FBI are proud to be here with you today. We are honored to be here in this wonderful community. We are honored to be able to be with you to take strength from this magnificent church, and to praise Lenny Hatton.

Lenny was a devoted husband and father, an exceptional Special Agent, and a caring and compassionate human being. He served his country in so many ways ... from fighting fires to fighting crime to fighting for freedom as a fellow Marine.

He cared deeply about his family and built his life around them. Lenny was a father who would fly 33 straight hours from an overseas investigation just to make his daughter's school dance.

Though we join Jo Anne, Tara, Leonard, Jessica, Courtney, and the entire Hatton family in mourning Lenny's loss, we also honor and celebrate a true American hero today.

When terror struck New York City on September 11, our country couldn't have asked for a better person on the scene. Lenny was a Special Agent, bomb technician, Marine, and volunteer firefighter all rolled into one. He was man of great courage who was proud to serve his country and always willing to lend a hand. And his acts of bravery and compassion on that fateful day of September 11 were remarkable.

Lenny was at the World Trade Center, saving lives even as he sacrificed his own, not because he had to be, but because he chose to be. He was on his way to work that morning when he saw the first tower on fire. He could have continued on his way to the office. Instead, probably without even thinking of his own safety, he went straight to the scene.

Within minutes, Lenny was on top of an adjacent building, surveying the damage and relaying information back to our FBI office in New York. Then, the second tower was struck. Others in the area fled. Not Lenny. He raced out of the building and into the World Trade Center. There, he helped firemen and rescue personnel lead people out of the soot, smoke, and darkness and into safety.

One man in the building told us that he was guided out by a person who identified himself as a Special Agent of the FBI. When they were outside in the clear, he was surprised to see the Agent turning back around. "Where are you going?" he asked. "Back into the building" came the Agent's response. That Special Agent, without a doubt, was Lenny Hatton.

Though we lost Lenny that morning, America gained a hero. Lenny died doing what he loved in life -- protecting his fellow citizens and upholding the values of his country. In the process, he reminded us of what is so good and right about America ... the integrity, fortitude, and sacrifice that are the backbone of our great nation. On September 11, terrorists tried to make a statement to the world. Lenny responded with a message of his own ... a testament to the power of courage, compassion, and goodness. And ultimately, we know that it is Lenny's values that will endure and prevail.

Lenny was proud to work for the FBI, but today, it is the FBI that is so very proud of Lenny. He was everything you'd want an Agent to be ... smart, tenacious, honest, brave, willing to take on any task and put in whatever hours were needed to get the job done. We are honored that a person of his caliber and integrity chose to serve in our ranks, and we will take to heart the example of service and sacrifice that he left us. Lenny will be missed, but he will never be forgotten. God bless Lenny Hatton.