Washington, D.C. - Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke on the House floor today to honor the one-year anniversary of the passing of Congressman John Murtha. Below are the Leader's remarks.
“Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.
“Mr. Speaker today marks the one-year anniversary of the passing of our dear colleague Congressman Jack Murtha of Pennsylvania. I rise to pay tribute to him. He was a giant of this chamber, a legislator of unsurpassed talent, a soldier of extraordinary courage, a political servant, a public servant to the end. Those of us who served with him were honored to call him colleague. Those of us in this body, many of us were privileged to call him friend--colleague and friend.
“The outpouring of accolades that came forward at his passing was something quite remarkable, and I hope that it was a comfort, and has been a comfort to his family. Certainly to those of us who worked with him, who knew his love of his district, who remember the way he held court in the Pennsylvania corner and gave out his blessing and his advice, Jack Murtha's wisdom, council and knowledge will continue to inspire us all.
“To watch Jack Murtha legislate was to watch a master at work. But more indicative of his character was to watch him communicate with our men and women in uniform, whether near the battlefield or near their bedside. He thanked them for their courage, and listened to their concerns. He always answered their needs, responded to their calls for body armor, up armored vehicles, and reliable radios, among other things.
“In those moments he bonded with them, with his own personal military experiences. He was awarded the bronze star and the Purple Heart himself. The nation saw Jack's courage on the battlefield, in Congress as he spoke out against the war in Iraq, and in doing so he made a distinction between the war and the warrior.
“Always committed to our national defense, forever bond to a cause of our national security, Jack Murtha measured the strength of our country, not only by the might of our military, he also measured it by the strength and well-being of our people. A much decorated champion on the battlefield, he was a hero in advancing scientific research to fight against cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS to name a few.
“Today, we remember him, always thinking of the motto of the Marine Corps ‘Semper Fi.' That motto, which Jack served proudly for 37 years, was the motto of his life. To the end, he remained always faithful to God and country, to his hometown of Johnstown, and most of all to his wife Joyce, his children and his grandchildren.
“Patriot, champion, hero, giant, Jack Murtha--we will never see his like again. Again, I hope it is a comfort to his family, that this one year later, so many of us remember Jack Murtha. I pray for his family.”