Good afternoon, everyone. To the pastor and members of the Buford Church of God – the spiritual home of the Carothers family; to the President and staff of the Greater Atlanta Christian Academy – the educational home of the Carothers family, who have come together and given us this beautiful service in this special place; Deputy Attorney General [Sally] Yates; Director [David] Harlow; distinguished guests; family and friends; and, most importantly, Terry, Michael, Matthew, Paul, Jessica, and Connor:
I bring you condolences from the entire Department of Justice family, of which Patrick Carothers was a beloved member. And I also bring you condolences from the President and First Lady of the United States, which I will share with you now.
We gather here today with bruised spirits and broken hearts. Whether we knew Patrick Carothers as a colleague, a friend, a father – even if we did not have the privilege of knowing him personally – we feel his loss deeply. And we feel his presence still. I did not have the privilege of meeting Deputy Commander Carothers, but after meeting with his teammates and family today, I feel as if I knew him.
I see him in the heartfelt regard and honor and loyalty of his colleagues; I see him not just in the faces but the faith, the fortitude, and the light in the children he was raising and the family he loved so much. And we all see him in the respect and regard and love of the people whose lives he touched, so many of whom are here today to honor him.
For he was the kind of person we hope our children will grow up to become. He was a person of integrity, who loved his family, strengthened his community, and served his country. He was a person of strength, possessed of quiet courage and deep compassion. And he was a person of action, who chose a career in law enforcement in order to protect the vulnerable and help those who cannot help themselves.
Deputy Commander Carothers represented the very best that our country has to offer. That someone like him should be taken from us in such a senseless way shocks our conscience. It chills our hearts. And it can shake our faith.
I do not claim to have any answers for why this horrible deed happened. Nor do I pretend that our pain can be erased with a few words; true comfort comes only through time and the grace of God. But I do know that Deputy Commander Carothers did not die in vain. For he served the cause of justice. Where justice is present, we glimpse a gentler and more peaceful world, one where every person lives in safety and dignity. Justice challenges us to do our part to bring that world into being. It challenges us to close the gap between the world as it is and the world as it should be. It calls each of us to devote our lives to something larger than ourselves.
Patrick Carothers accepted that challenge. For 26 years, he answered that call. He pledged his energy, his talent – and, if necessary, his life – to the safety and well-being of the American people. Taking that pledge made him a U.S. Marshal – a proud member of the nation’s oldest law enforcement agency. Keeping that pledge until his last breath made him a hero. He can stand before his maker and echo Paul’s words to Timothy: “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.”
To Deputy Commander Carothers’ fellow Marshals: I want you to know that as your Attorney General, there is nothing more difficult than burying a member of our department – our family. The dangers that you and your fellow law enforcement officers face; the sacrifices that you make; the hazards that you accept: these are never far from my mind and I want you to know how humbled I am by your valor and dedication.
To Deputy Commander Carothers’s relatives and loved ones: my heart aches for you. I can only imagine the depth of your sorrow and the intensity of your pain. Terry, you were clearly Patrick’s light and his strength. And the children that you raised together are a testament to the bond you shared. I especially want to say to Michael, Matthew, Paul, Jessica, and Connor that your father lives on in you. You have clearly inherited his spirit, his strength and his compassion, and he will continue to shape and improve our world through your lives. Please know that the entire Department of Justice family grieves with you and is here for you. In the days ahead, we will strive to honor his legacy not only with our words, but with our deeds; not only by remembering his name, but by continuing his work – his work for a stronger, a safer and a more just United States.
May God bless the memory of Deputy Commander Patrick Carothers, and may He grant him eternal rest and peace.