Dedication of the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Memorial Wall
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
ASSISTANT SECRETARY BROWNFIELD: Ladies and gentlemen, good morning and welcome. Now that you have all seated yourselves, may I ask you all please to rise for the changing of the watch.
Gentlemen of the watch, please change the watch.
Thank you very much, gentlemen. Ladies and gentlemen, please be seated. Mr. Secretary, ambassadors and members of the diplomatic community, distinguished visitors and Madam Administrator, Director, Chief, Madam Deputy Secretary, Under Secretary, Assistant Secretaries, Mrs. Bynum and members of the Bynum delegation, ladies and gentlemen, my name is Bill Brownfield and I will be serving functionally as your emcee this morning.
I would like to welcome you all and suggest to you that today represents the end of a 10-year journey, during which time the Department of State wrestled with the following question: How do we recognize and honor those members of the American law enforcement and criminal justice communities who made the ultimate sacrifice abroad in the service of their nation? We have in the State Department, in the C Street Lobby, a memorial to those diplomats and embassy employees who have given their lives over the last 200 years in the service of their nation.
But that would not apply logically to the law enforcement community. As the Assistant Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department knows, we have here in Washington on E Street between 4th and 5th Streets a law enforcement memorial for all active duty American law enforcement officers who give their lives in the service of their communities. But that memorial does not apply to those who give their lives overseas.
Today, ladies and gentlemen, we bring this journey to an end. Today, we honor 87 men and women who also answered the call, who also made the supreme sacrifice. Mr. Secretary, my old friend Under Secretary Pat Kennedy was right when he told me a year ago that we should place this memorial in the 21st Street lobby, because it is here where, every morning, as the commuter buses and the Metro buses disgorge their passengers, as the Foggy Bottom Metro station disgorges its passengers, that thousands of your employees enter this building. And as they do, they will see this memorial and learn lessons from it.
It is through this entrance that our many colleagues and friends of the law enforcement community enter the Department of State, and as they do, they will see that the State Department recognizes and honors their brothers and sisters who have given their lives in the service of their nation abroad. And it is at this entrance, Mrs. Bynum and members of the Bynum family, that you and 86 other families and thousands of others who will enter to visit the State Department museum for years and years to come – you will see that the State Department does remember, does honor the sacrifices of your loved ones, and we will all hope and pray that your son’s name is the last name that will ever appear on this memorial. You honor us with your presence, Mrs. Bynum, and now I am honored to introduce to you the Secretary of State of the United States of America.
(Secretary Kerry delivered remarks. Flag was presented and wreath was laid.)
ASSISTANT SECRETARY BROWNFIELD: Ladies and gentlemen, as we bring this ceremony to a close, may I ask you – in fact, may I beg you to remember – that on this wall are not just a series of names, dates, and places, not even just a group of 87 people. Here are 87 human stories, chapters in the book of the history of the human race.
Gary Weston, Director Samuels, was a corrections officer from Illinois. He was assigned to the UN Mission in Kosovo. And in the morning of April 17, 2004, on his way to the central prison in Pristina, his convoy was ambushed by gunmen. Mr. Weston pushed his colleague to the floor of the car and threw his body over her to protect her. She survived the attack. He did not. His name is found on the first panel, third row.
Gary Willard, Chief Burke [of Metro PD], was a police officer from Georgia and a member of our police advisory team in Afghanistan, Mr. Ambassador [Hakimi, of Afghanistan]. He was assigned to the Kandahar district, where he encountered an orphanage, and worked with his church back home in Calhoun, Georgia and his community to make donations of clothing and toys to the kids in the orphanage. On June 7, 2010, the police-training center where he was training police was attacked by insurgents. He and his Gurkha security officer, Mr. Charge [Ghimire, of Nepal], held off the attackers long enough to allow all of the other police trainees and trainers to escape. They did not. Both their names are found on the second panel, second row.
Eighty-seven names, eighty-seven lives, eighty-seven stories. Ladies and gentlemen, in the law enforcement and firefighting communities it is traditional to say farewell to their own with the music of the bagpipe. I suggest we do so this morning. Master piper, would you give us a tune, please?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY BROWNFIELD: Thank you, piper. Thank you, Administrator [Leonhart, of the Drug Enforcement Administration], for the loan of the pipes.
And now, ladies and gentlemen, may I ask you once again to rise for the changing of the watch. Gentlemen of the watch, please change the watch. Thank you, gentlemen.
Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. This does conclude our ceremony. Thank you very much for coming. I invite you all to observe the wall and perhaps sign the commemorative book on your way out. I thank you.