Mariel Saez, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) delivered remarks at a ceremony unveiling the "Civil Service Wall of Honor" at the Office of Personnel Management. This memorial recognizes civil servants killed in the line of duty. Below are his remarks, as prepared for delivery:
"We gather this afternoon to pay tribute to a group of Americans whose dedication to public service knew no earthly bounds. These patriots, who lost their lives in service to the American people, must be remembered. Not only because of how they died but by what their lives meant to the many people their work affected – not just here in our country but across the world.
“Just this past weekend, as John mentioned, another name was added to the roll of honor and memory this wall represents. Anne Smedinghoff, a young woman who was full of life and energy and passion for service, was killed doing the work we the people sent her to do. She was murdered in a car bombing in Zabul Province, Afghanistan, where she and other State Department employees were scheduled to participate in the opening of a new school. She was fearless and determined to make a difference. Just like J. Christopher Stevens, our Ambassador in Libya who was killed last year in Benghazi.
“But it is not only our diplomats who face danger. Today we add the name of a firefighter with the USDA, twenty year-old Ann Veseth, who was killed trying to extinguish a wildfire in Idaho. And we also remember Nick Hall, a ranger with the National Park Service who lost his life trying to rescue four stranded climbers on Mount Rainier in Washington state.
“These are but a few of the fifteen names we read - fifteen Americans who came from different walks of life and performed different jobs on our behalf. But they shared an important trait: a selfless determination to make our country stronger and safer for its people and the world more peaceful and more just.
“We remember them today, and we remember them always.”