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Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch Delivers Remarks at the White House Medal of Valor Ceremony


Washington, DC
United States

Remarks as prepared for delivery

Good morning, everyone, and thank you for that kind welcome.  It is a pleasure to be with you today, and it is a privilege to join so many outstanding public servants, distinguished guests and courageous law enforcement officers as we gather to honor the newest recipients of the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor and bestow upon them the highest recognition for their exceptional bravery.  I especially want to welcome the friends, colleagues and family members who have traveled here to join in this special ceremony.  We are grateful for – and inspired by –all that you do to support our honorees.  We know that so often, it is because of your sacrifices that they are able to serve.

Today, we pause to salute a remarkable group of public safety officers who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to serve their communities and protect their fellow Americans.  In the face of terrible violence, they displayed extraordinary courage.  Confronted with imminent danger, they responded with uncommon valor.  And encountering wrongdoers with no regard for law or life, they sought to defend the vulnerable and to do justice. 

These Medal of Valor recipients hastened towards cries for help and ran towards the sound of gunfire.  They responded to school shootings and armed robberies; hostage takings and kidnappings; acts of arson and incidents of domestic violence.  Some of these heroes met danger in the course of their patrols; others were off duty when they were called into action.  But we know it is not the hour on the clock or the color of the shirt that determines a hero, but the heart of the guardian.  And like the guardians they are, all of our medal recipients today acted without hesitation, placing others before self, time and time again.  And one of them made the ultimate sacrifice, giving his life in an effort to save others.

I know that no words or medals can begin to repay the debt that we owe to these exceptional officers – and to all of the policemen, firefighters, federal agents, sheriffs and EMTs who go to incredible lengths to fulfill their oaths to protect and serve the American people.  It has oft been said that the price of freedom is constant vigilance.  Know this: they pay that price on our behalf.  Their vigilance keeps our communities safe.  Their devotion keeps our nation secure.  And their patriotism makes our country strong.  On behalf of my colleagues at every level of the Department of Justice, I want to thank each of you for all that you have done, and for all that you continue to do.  I am proud to count you as partners in the law and guardians of justice.  And I congratulate you on this well-deserved honor.

It is now my distinct privilege to introduce a leader who is deeply devoted to our nation’s law enforcement and public safety officers; who works tirelessly for their well-being; and who I know is profoundly grateful for your service.  Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the President of the United States. 

Updated May 16, 2016