Justice News

Attorney General Holder Delivers Remarks at 20th Anniversary of the MPD Headquarters Shooting
Washington, DC
United States
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Friday, November 21, 2014

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery

Thank you, Monsignor [Criscuolo], for those kind words – and thank you all for the opportunity to take part in this solemn observance.  I am proud to be among so many current and former law enforcement leaders from the local and federal levels.  And I am both honored – and humbled – to stand with the friends and family members of Hank Daly, Martha Dixon Martinez and Michael Miller – as we remember these fallen heroes; as we pay tribute to their bravery, and their valorous actions, in the line of fire; and as we rededicate ourselves to the cause that defined them, and the work for which they gave their lives: the pursuit of justice.

Twenty years ago tomorrow – on a day that none of us will ever forget – Sergeant Daly, Special Agent Dixon Martinez and Special Agent Miller reported for duty at the Metropolitan Police Department headquarters just a few blocks from where we gather this morning – a building that now bears Sergeant Daly’s name.  On that day, this city was shaken by a monstrous assault made all the more tragic for being utterly incomprehensible.

As the United States Attorney for Washington, D.C., at the time, I will never forget the moment I heard the terrible news.  I will never forget the bravery of those who helped to secure the scene and get others to safety.  And I will never forget the pain of the losses we suffered on that day – or the sorrow that remains with us still.

Even now, two decades later, as we lift up the memories of these passionate public servants, it is difficult to make sense of the violence that took them from us – far too suddenly, and far too soon.  And that’s why, as we honor their sacrifices today, we do so not only because of how they died – in the line of duty, in the defense of their colleagues, and in the service of their community and their country.  We remember them most of all for how they lived – as some of the best local police officers and elite federal agents in the nation.

Sergeant Daly and Special Agent Miller were loving fathers and devoted husbands.  Special Agent Dixon Martinez had gotten married just six weeks earlier.  Each of them was known for their abiding compassion, their sincere dedication, and their boundless generosity.  Each had devoted virtually their entire careers to the betterment of their neighborhoods and the safety of their fellow citizens.  And each had come to embody the highest ideals of public service.

These brave individuals served with dedication.  They lived with distinction.  And when the moment came – when danger threatened – they ultimately gave what President Abraham Lincoln once called the “last full measure of devotion” – to their families, to their colleagues and to their country.

This morning, we hail their valor and salute their singular courage – courage that marks them as the very best that their noble profession has to offer.  We pledge, in their honor, that we will always stay true to our commitment – as a nation – to support those who wear the badge, carry heavy burdens, and incur tremendous risks every day in the name of public safety.  And we promise to continue our service, as law enforcement leaders sworn to protect our fellow citizens, as a fitting and enduring tribute to the fallen colleagues we memorialize today.

In the two decades since this heinous attack, the men and women of the Metropolitan Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have done just that – pressing forward, redoubling your commitment to the vital work for which they gave their lives, and renewing your dedication to our shared mission.  No one illustrates that commitment more fully than Special Agent John Kuchta, who was seriously wounded on that terrible day, but who never doubted that he would return to the FBI – where he continues to serve our nation with honor and distinction.

As his example proves – and as these resilient family members and friends show us, year after year – although our hearts remain heavy, and although there are no words, and no amount of time, that can erase the grief we feel – in this room, as in the stories of those we lost, we are bound together by far more than loss.  We stand as one – shoulder-to-shoulder in both healing and hope.  We are inspired and humbled by the sacrifices, and the resolve, of the heroes who are missing from this crowd.  We are borne up by the strength of those no longer with us, and by those they left behind.  And through the pain, and the heartache, and the losses that cannot be restored, we know that the memories – and the love – of Hank, and Martha, and Michael, will always endure.

Let our presence – here, today – serve as a reminder that their stories, and their sacrifices, will never be forgotten.  Let their loved ones – and our nation – know that they will live on in the work that we continue.  And let our efforts become their living memorial – testifying to the power of service, and the thanks of a grateful nation, for generations to come.

Thank you.

Updated August 18, 2015