Remarks as prepared for delivery
Thank you, Acting Director Anderson, for that kind introduction. I appreciate your 21 years of dedication to the Marshals Service. I want in particular to express my gratitude for the personal sacrifices you made in spending the past year away from your family. You have made many valuable improvements in Marshals Service operations and earned tremendous respect from colleagues throughout the nation.
It is a privilege to participate in recognizing outstanding achievements by Marshals Service employees. I want to welcome the family members, friends, and colleagues who join us in this majestic Great Hall. Some of you missed Halloween at home in order to travel here to Washington. We are grateful.
I also want to thank everyone who helped to plan this ceremony.
After the United States Constitution was ratified in 1789, one of the first acts of the new Congress authorized that a United States Marshal “be appointed in each district … to execute … all lawful precepts … issued under the authority of the United States ….”
President George Washington explained that he had a duty “to select such characters to fill the … offices … as would discharge their respective trusts with honor to themselves and advantage to their country.”
I have a unique opportunity to learn firsthand how Marshals Service employees discharge their duties. The Deputy Attorney General travels with a Marshals Service security detail, and I meet many Marshals and Deputies throughout the country. This organization is filled with men and women of tremendous skill, character, and integrity.
You spend every day on the front lines, making our country safer by arresting fugitives, transporting prisoners, protecting judges and Department of Justice employees, contributing to efficient court operations, forfeiting crime proceeds, and supporting other law enforcement agencies.
The job is often dangerous. As we gather today for a well-deserved celebration of our victories, we also take the time to acknowledge our losses.
One of my first official events last year as Deputy Attorney General was a memorial service for Deputy U.S. Marshal Patrick Carothers, who was murdered in Georgia in November 2016. Many of us stay in touch with Pat’s wife, Terry, and I am pleased to report that his five children are thriving.
In January, I attended the funeral of Deputy U.S. Marshal Christopher Hill, a few days after he was killed in Pennsylvania. Many of us are wearing memorial bracelets in Chris’s honor. His wife Sylvia visited my office earlier today and shared some stories about their children, Travis and Ashlynn.
We will continue to honor the memories of our lost colleagues and support their survivors.
But today, we also pause to honor outstanding employees for their work over the past year to advance the proud legacy of the Marshals Service.
A few weeks ago, President Donald Trump spoke eloquently about the brave men and women who maintain law and order in America. The President said that “[i]n moments of danger and despair, you are the reason we never lose hope — because [you] face down evil and stand for all that’s good and just and decent and right. No matter what threat you face, you never give in. You never back down. You are people of tremendous courage and strength…. Nothing can break your spirit or bend your will…. We thank you. We salute you. We honor you. And we promise you: We will always have your back.”
Today I have the privilege of introducing one of America’s strongest law enforcement advocates, a man who shares your dedication to justice and your devotion to service, and who honors the President’s commitment to have your back.
The Attorney General spent most of his career in public service. He first worked on the front lines as a federal prosecutor, and as a captain in the Army Reserve. In 1981, President Ronald Reagan appointed him United States Attorney for Southern Alabama. He served in that office for twelve years, working closely with the Marshals Service.
In 1994, he won election as Attorney General for Alabama. And in 1996, he was elected to the United States Senate, where he served with great distinction for two decades.
Please welcome a great patriot and an unrelenting supporter of law enforcement, the 84th Attorney General of the United States, Jeff Sessions.