For the 1,400 men and women of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, this is a day of sadness and of irony. The Bureau was born out of our nation's commitment to protect all of the people who would do our nation's work abroad. It is a world in which DS has made a difference. It touches us deeply, therefore, to gather here today to mourn the lives of young men who dedicated their lives to protecting others.
These men represent the highest traditions of government service--America's best Ron Lariviere and Dan O'Connor were special agents. They had survived rigorous screening and a tough examination process to be selected from thousands of applicants for Diplomatic Security. As special agents, they were put through extensive training. Both endured long hours and demanding assignments to prepare them for the future--and their future was bright indeed.
Matthew Gannon was especially close to us in DS. The younger brother of our own Special Agent Richard Gannon, he worked closely with us as political officer in Beirut, his last post. So on both accounts, we consider him a member of our family.
All three of these men had volunteered for their last assignments, accepting without question, the dangers of their work--and dangerous it is.
The Foreign Service and the Department of State are for many of us like an extended family. But the members of the Diplomatic Security Service share a special bond drawn from the nature of our work, the frequent and difficult travel, the shift work, and the long hours.
Our families are often asked to make great sacrifices to accommodate our jobs. There are too many missed birthdays, and anniversaries; too many occasions when our wives and husbands have carried more than their share of the family responsibilities because we were unable to do our part; too many disappointments for our children when our work made it impossible for us to be there for the special moments in their lives. Our families grow accustomed to the sacrifices and accept them with love and understanding. Today, we are reminded how great those sacrifices can ultimately be.
We can almost count in months the time since these men arrived in Washington to start new careers in government. They left behind the beauty of the California coast, and the charm of old New England. They left behind admiring neighbors, and loving families. They entered a new world enthusiastically and bravely. Now, we can say to them: You have left us for a world we cannot pretend to understand. But you have left behind you here much that is good.
Matthew Kevin Gannon, Daniel Emmett O'Conner, Ronald Albert Lariviere--we are proud of you. We shall miss you.