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News Release

Friday, May 28, 2004
Contact: Brenda Bertrand
Tel: 202-606-2402

OPM Welcomes Highest Ranking African American Female in the U.S. Navy to Memorial Service

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director Kay Coles James honored America's heroes in an OPM ceremony commemorating Memorial Day and the National Moment of Remembrance in the OPM Campbell Auditorium.

During the event, Director James welcomed guest speaker Captain Gail Harris, the highest ranking African American female in the U.S. Navy and spoke of the need to "shine a light" on the many contributions veterans have made -- and continue to make -- to keep America safe.

"Since September 11th, I have witnessed a growing and deeper appreciation for our soldiers and for the tremendous sacrifices they make each day for the American people and our ideals," said James. "Today and everyday, we pause to remember their selfless sacrifices made to keep this country secure."

The attendees took a moment to remember our country's fallen, and James told the overflow crowd, "Let us remember that freedom has never been free. The privilege to live in this country came at a great price. For this, we honor our men and women in uniform today and always."

Honored speakers and special guests during the OPM commemoration ceremony included Howard S. Grant, U.S. Army's 9th Calvary, "Buffalo Soldier,"; Joyce Miller, U.S. Army, Vietnam, 17th District Commander of the American Legion in Virginia Department; Bill Strawsburg, U.S. Army; Tony Dzierski, Vietnam, Korean War and WWII veteran; and OPM staff who have served in the Armed Services.

There were also several leaders from Veterans Service Organizations (VSO) including a contingency from the American Legion and the American GI Forum. The Washington Symphonic Brass provided patriotic musical selections.

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OPM leads and serves the Federal Government in enterprise human resources management by delivering policies and services to achieve a trusted, effective civilian workforce. By Empowering Excellence in Government through Great People, we provide leadership and support to U.S. agencies on issues including human resources policy and oversight, background investigations, federal employee benefits, retirement services, guidance on labor-management relations, and programs to improve workforce performance. For more information, visit or follow OPM on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

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