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Speeches & Remarks Wall of Honor Dedication

Remarks of OPM Director John Berry

Wall of Honor Dedication

Washington, DC

April 11, 2013

As prepared for delivery


Thank you all for coming. And thank you Shonna James for that wonderful rendition of the national anthem, and the Capitol Police Honor Guard for the presentation of colors. I also want to thank the whole team that made this memorial possible.

Scripture says "No greater love is more than this: that one lay down their life for another."

The people we remember today loved their country. They loved their neighbors and their nation. They rose each morning, and whether they pinned a badge over their hearts or faced danger unexpectedly – they laid down their lives in our service.

Today we remember those who have fallen. We honor their courage and integrity, and we are inspired by their example.

Now I'd like to introduce one of the champions for Federal workers. Throughout his 17 terms representing Maryland's 5th district, he has supported and promoted excellence in government. Both on the Appropriations committee and as then as a key member of the House leadership team, he has shown his understanding of the link between high-quality employees and high-quality results. He's not only been a friend to Federal workers, he's been a mentor to me.

Congressman Steny Hoyer.

[Congressman Hoyer speaks]

We are also joined today by Virginia's most senior representative, a current member of the Appropriations committee, and a strong advocate for Federal employees – from telework to the Civilian Service Recognition Act. He knows that Federal workers get the job done – and he has worked to bring our civil servants the respect they deserve.

Congressman Frank Wolf.

[Congressman Wolf speaks]

Though we often think of the Federal government as a monolith, confined within the beltway, most of the people honored by this wall are not from Washington D.C. They lived – as the vast majority of Federal workers live – far from the capital. The fifty-two stars on this wall represent each state, the District of Columbia, and the United States territories.

There's a star for Washington state, where on New Year's Day 2012, Margaret Anderson, a National Park Ranger in Mt. Rainier, was killed stopping a car that had blown through a routine snow chain inspection. She did not know that the driver was already a suspect in a murder, on the run from authorities – yet Margaret's road block saved park visitors from danger, at the cost of her life.

There's a star for Illinois, the home of Anne Smedinghoff, [/SMED-ing-hoff/] a smiling 25-year-old diplomat. She went straight from a college degree in international relations at Johns Hopkins into the Foreign Service. Her career began in Caracas Venezuela, and ended all too abruptly in Afghanistan this weekend. Anne was killed in an attack on a passing convoy – while she was delivering books to a school near the embassy. "We are consoled," her parents wrote, "knowing that she was doing what she loved, and that she was serving her country by helping to make a positive difference in the world."

Now, I won't stand here and tell a story for every star, or every hero who has fallen. But I'll tell you what each and every one of them would say: "I was only doing my job. It was my duty."

That's the stuff that keeps our nation strong. That commitment and that courage. It's not written anywhere in stone that the Constitution will carry forward. It's written in the hearts of our men and women – and it is made real by the constant labor of a dedicated and honorable workforce.

On behalf of a grateful nation, we dedicate this wall to all those who have died in the line of duty.

You strove to make our nation better, stronger, and more prosperous.

You served your neighbors – in every state of the union.

And you laid down the fullest sacrifice.

We dedicate this wall in your memory.


Now, as I mentioned, this is the first time that fallen civilians have been honored governmentwide. We are still setting up the systems that will assure that each individual who has earned this honor will be listed – and so although we know that our list is not yet comprehensive – even for this past year, I want to read the names of Federal civilians that have died in the line of duty since 2012, to be followed at a later date by a full reading of the comprehensive list.

Ann R. Veseth
US Department of Agriculture

Dr. John Lydon
US Department of Agriculture

Margaret Anderson
Department of Interior

Dana Bruce
Department of Interior

Nicholas Hall
Department of Interior

Anthony Polk
Department of Interior

Paul Cook
Department of Interior

Eric Williams
Department of Justice

Louis Stallings
Department of Defense

Jimmie Tyree
Department of Defense

Richard Powell
Department of Defense

Hyun Shin
Department of Defense

Sean P. Smith
Department of State

John Christopher Stevens
Department of State

Anne Smedinghoff
Department of State

Thomas J. Cameron
Department of Homeland Security

Fernando Jorge
Department of Homeland Security

Andrew W. Knight
Department of Homeland Security

Dale T. Taylor
Department of Homeland Security

Richard W. Belisle
Department of Homeland Security

James A. Hopkins
Department of Homeland Security

Leopoldo Cavazos, Jr.
Department of Homeland Security

James R. Dominguez
Department of Homeland Security

Jeffrey Ramirez
Department of Homeland Security

Nicholas J. Ivie
Department of Homeland Security

David R. Delaney
Department of Homeland Security

Terrell E. Horne III
Department of Homeland Security

Please join me in a moment of silence.


Thank you. Thank you all for joining in this solemn commemoration.

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