tv Memorial Service for James Brady CSPAN October 10, 2014 10:00am-11:31am EDT
>> welcome. we are greeting you as jim brady would greet you, with an irish blessing. we begin the service to celebrate his life. may the road rise up to me to, may the wind be ever at your back. may the sunshine warm up on your one, and the rains fall soft your fields. it until we meet again, may god hold you in the palm of his hand. have walls forys
the wind and a roof for the rain. you, those youer love near you, and all your heart might desire. may saint patrick guard you wherever you go and guide you in whatever you do. protection be a blessing to always. >> good morning. i am joe lockhart. be in a very small fraternity of former white house press secretary's. to walk up after a prayer, subtly different
than what i used to say to myself. please god, let me get to the next hour. on behalf of the brady family, we want to thank you for coming. your presence means so much to them and to the family. we have some former press secretary's here. thank you for coming. we're here for a simple reason. we loved jim brady. let me amend that a little bit, we love jim and sarah brady. to me, they are jim and sarah brady. legacy,ere to honor his but to honor sarah and the family and all they have done. they were one of the most formidable couples in town. they were also one of the most lovable couples.
hisre here to celebrate life today through many of his colleagues and the operative word is celebrate. and one who stands behind white house podium knows you spend most good time answering hard and tough questions. on occasion, i got some easy ones i want to share two of them with you today. one of them was who is your personal hero? mine was jim brady. one was a personal connection. anyone with any objective research would find that we were the last of the press secretaries who shared the hollywood good looks and fashion sense that very often you see in the movies. he is a hero not because of what happened to him. people faced tragedy in the lives. he is a hero because of what he did with it.
we live in a very partisan and difficult town right now. it is hard to believe that we can find common ground on issues that aren't that hard. jim and sarah got things done. we should not forget that. what was your favorite data white house? another easy one. when we renamed the press briefing room after jim brady. it was my favorite day. it honor jim and i think it brought great joy to jim, sarah, and the family. probably just as important for me, it honor his legacy forever. whoever the president is or the where evertary is, they stand on issues, when they say something it will be recorded as being said in the james s brady white house briefing room.
that is an important knowledge meant -- acknowledgment. we are going to hear from a lot of people. we will start professionally and washington with a couple of people who jim worked with in the reagan white house. sheila tate will speak next. she was nancy reagan's press secretary. she has a special message that she wants to share. what -- mark weinberg will share some of his experiences. she looked? -- sheila? >> good morning. i'm trying to figure out where
to put my water without spilling it. i think like a lot of us, particularly from the reagan days, we are not as active as we used to be. neither is nancy reagan. wanted to have something to say today. she wrote to sarah. remembrance of all the memories she had. she shared this with sarah and then ultimately time magazine. i am honored to share this with you today. she said, ronnie and i could tell there was something special about jim brady from the moment we met him. he had a certain twinkle in his eye. he had a way of letting you know that he knew what he was doing
and everything would be all right. he had a zest for life that was infectious. he love to hear and tell a good story. he laughed easily and could see the silver lining in even the darkest cloud. he made the best chili in town. when was time to be serious, jim was serious and often in a three-piece suit with a notebook -- in hand. hand jim was at ronnie's side. he was taking detailed notes. brief the press on whatever had transpired. when jim gave advice, ronnie and i listened because we knew he had the best instincts in town. it broke ronnie's heart and my heart the jim and sarah were forced to face such a diversity after he was so seriously
wounded during the 1981 assassination attempt. they never complained. jim was a patriot. he loved his country and was proud to serve. ronnie insisted that jim remain his press secretary for eight years. the white house did not seem complete without him. he and sarah became dear friends. i miss jim and pray for sarah. as do we all. if i may indulge myself with a as i doonal comments the warm up for mark weinberg, it seems strange the back here in my hometown. i now live in charlottesville, virginia. i don't get here as much as i
used to. i knew it was time to retire when i went to a big press event at the willard hotel and art buckwalter hit on me. [laughter] it's true. his ardor cooled after i asked his quested in the negative, which was do you have a car and driver? he had an alter your motive. since jim brady died, the reagan communications team has been in frequent touch as you can imagine. worked withs who jim during the campaign and in the white house, he was always this huge looming presence. i suspect he will always be a powerful influence on us. wasof the early reaganites planning on being here today. she had a minor medical
emergency. she told me a story and gave me permission to tell it. , they the 1980 campaign were in tampa florida. it was at a hotel. conversation a with the waiter about the wine list. he offered to show her the wine cellar. off she went. he opened this closet and shoved her in and when and after her and went for the kiss. jim saw what was happening and he rushed down the hall and rip the door opened and through the waiter side of and saved the damsel in distress. but this is the wonderful part. every time he saw her after that, whenever he saw her, he her, have you--
been in any good wine cellars lately? [laughter] demonstration of what we knew. he always had our backs and always helped us. if there was a fight we needed to win, he was there for you. back the brought personal anger that i felt from the assassination attempt. when sarah asked me to speak, i wondered what to say about that anger and it is something many of us carried with us. that got me thinking about this fellow with the gun. that pathetic guy that got the perfect way to impress jodie foster was to try to shoot the president. realized, i couldn't remember his first name. ofn't explain the sense
release. he didn't matter to me. he is inconsequential. ronald reagan found it in his heart to forgive him. nancy not so much. i am sort of with nancy on that. i think a lot of reagan people feel that way as well. prefer to give thanks to god for the survival of our and we are especially thankful for the neurosurgical at gw hospital. hasn't know if everyone heard the story about when the mistaken announcement that jim had not survived, his classic
>> i realize that this is not the signing of health care big deal.is is a to paraphrase a great man. sarah,e president, members of the brady family, it is an honor to be at this podium today to speak about my boss, mentor, and friend. thank you sarah for the privilege of representing the brady bunch. when people speak of those who of passed on it, history is re-created. sharp edges are softened. reality is replaced by fuzzy images. kind of like a reagan campaign commercial. no truth need be stretched no scrubbing need be done.
no revisionism is required to present an absolutely honest picture of extraordinary man ,hose goodness, intelligence since of humor, courage, love of life touched us all. let me tell you about my journey with him. i was 22 years old with my own typewriter, a banquet table for a desk in a rented metal folding chair writing press releases when i first crossed paths with jim. he was hired as the press secretary. after the routine introduction, the first word he said to me in the conley campaign was, houdini. confused? so was i. i just written what i thought was a routine press release about some campaign event in lord knows where and put it on jim's desk.
i expected he would come out and say it was ok and then i would issue it. but no. andame to my table/desk headed me the release and said houdini. i said i don't understand. he smiled and said it again. will appearays he the campaign event. no, magicians appear. he is not houdini. he is a candidate for the presidency of the united states. they campaign or speak. my first of many lessons from jim brady. he was a great boss. jeep hebody rim that used to run around in in arlington? he came to get me one saturday
afternoon in crystal city. i did not want to get in. he was my boss and i did. fast-forward, jim is on the reagan campaign and got me hired. reagan wins and jim is the chief spokesman. i am there working for jim again , writing press releases about cabinet appointments. no one appeared in those. [laughter] -- vivid imaget was when we get information about who is being considered for press secretary. those were not easy days for him. as the days tipped down to a precious few with the decision from you know who, jim
reluctantly and briefly considered an invitation from al haig to be the state department spokesman. one night. and i were having if i wanted to work for him at state. state with haig it jim said. i'm not sure i am a foreign policy guy. sarah could see where my head was and bless your heart. you said to jim, leave him alone. mark wants to go to the white house. a day or two later, they offered jim the job and the rest is history. ustell the truth, none of thought he would be a great press secretary. knew himself well enough and
from an organizational standpoint, he might come up a little bit short. desk would that prove it. it was always covered in multiple layers of paper. you could never see would. if he had a system, it was among the most great kept secrets. no one knew where anything was except jim. much of the time, it was all in his head. that is why he hired larry speaks to run the office. role was to beis an advisor to the president and his spokesman. no one was better at either. speaking of larry, we lost him earlier this year. i would not be surprised if he ,nd jim are up there right now
drinking heineken and listing to elvis. hiscan rip -- forget briefings. they are usually scheduled for noon. we would gather in his office and 11:30 a.m. every day. we would have our answers all prepared. as always, wind up waiting for jim. we were afraid to leave. we never knew when he was going to come. inevitably, he was with the president. he raced into the office and we all turned into whirling dervish is. we were talking over each other in he paid us no attention at all. he sat at his desk and hunched over a notebook. he would stand up and swoop up some of those papers and head for the briefing room. we scrambled to follow him almost falling over each other.
he nailed every briefing. it was almost as if he could read reporters mines in terms of what they would ask and he always had the perfect answer. it was uncanny. jim was more than a boss to me. he had a paternal side to him that made my parents very happy and grateful. he always seemed worried about my social life, which was not robust back then. jim taught me many things. no lesson was more important than to love life. he did that by example. he loved his family. he loved his friends and reporters and politics and cooking and eating.
he loved the class reunion and nathan's on saturday. they all lit up when jim brady was there. he knew who he was and he was happy. he was not afraid to laugh at himself. there was nothing vain about jim brady. when people asked about his figure, his answer was the same. when i get an urge to exercise, i lay down until it passes. jim was real. when he was asked whether he was angry about the events of march 30, he did not make up a politically correct fake stuff about moving on. he told the truth. he said yes. jimimportant thing is that was not bitter. there is a profound difference tween anger and bitterness. can be an obsessive and ultimately self-destructive emotion while anger can lead to
action. that is what happened with sarah and jim. their anger motivated them to do something really important and great with their lives for which this country is better. me remind you the jim brady was able to fully perform the duties of white house press secretary for 70 days. he served in the role for eight years of the reagan administration because ronald and nancy reagan were unwavering in their loyalty to him. we were blessed with jim's leadership for only 70 days. that's not a long time. short as it was, jim brady's tenure was as impactful and important and inspiring as any in history. best ineagan said it
i am on the successors to jim brady. to ourselves as the human piñata's for the white house press corps. jim brady was a great role model. he knew when to growl like a bear at the press when he had to. he understood the value of the --an and kinder chechen touch. the relationship between the white house and the press corps which covers it must always be an and the serial one. that thisproved adversarial relationship could be an amicable one. i'm going to collect up for distinguished people who can speak to that. first the me read a letter we have received for this occasion. where --i could be
there to celebrate jim's courageous life of service. jim was blessed with a unique combination of wit, intelligence, tenacity that made him an effective and often entertaining white house press secretary. perhaps there is no greater testament to his abilities or to the mutual respect he shared with journalists than his successful effort to convince the white house press corps to abandon tradition and begin raising their hands one of they wanted to ask a question. assassin's bullet changed everything at the pinnacle of his career, he could've lived up the rest of his life in private regret. instead, he chose to publicly embrace what he could still accomplish with his mind and heart. personalormed his tragedy into an opportunity to save lives. he taught us the true meaning of perseverance and showed that although much can be taken from us, we can always keep giving. he did it with a level of grace
and honor that most of us with far fewer obstacles in our way never achieved. it is really great honors of my life that i had the opportunity sign the brady bill into law in 1993. jim and sarah five so hard for more than six years to help pass it. the background checks mandated by the law who stopped or than 2 by felons, purchases fugitives, domestic abusers, and stockers. safer becausere of jim's efforts. i pay tochelsea, and be to a remarkable man and inspiring leader and a true friend. may god bless you all, president bill clinton." [applause] now let me introduce for a
life in theof his pinnacle of his career, he was shut down by an assassin's bullet. spirit could shatter his and his trademark sense of humor. the man we knew as the bear was a reverent to a fault. we remember killer trees. how he couldple of get himself in trouble on the campaign trail. he was truly one of life's originals. he was funny, honest, and true. i know i won't any arguments from the press secretaries who successors when i described him as the most honest and straight talking and fearless and best like press secretary ever.
he was the most effective. it was an accolade that he had struck downte being by only a few months on the job full-time. it was a trustee had earned in every job you held before that. that was on the beginning. jim was a fighter. never more so than he was fighting for the cause of his answer is life. book, therote in her bear named brady was the brightest, funniest man should ever met. clearly, he was also the most determined. their fight for handgun control was initially inspired not by his injury, by an incident that occurred four years later. they were visiting his hometown in illinois.
scott picked up what he thought was a toy gun. so did sarah. they were visiting friends. startedthat he had playing with was not a toy. it was a saturday night special. it was similar to the one that had been used against jim. her shock atand how close are precious child had come to a terrible injury turned into anger and into resolve. out of that, came the campaign. a movement and a cause. by then, i was covering congress. i am ever so well seeing them together. what a love story. lobbying members of congress. jim did not sugarcoat his argument when he was testifying against the gun lobby's objections.
the nra said the five-day waiting. would inconvenience law-abiding citizens. i need helpgress getting out of bed and help taking a shower and help getting dressed. i need help going to the bathroom. i guess i am paying for their inconvenience. i'm over the day when ronald reagan endorsed the brady law. to said they are not going accuse him of being liberal. i will never forget witnessing the oval office ceremony in 1993 when president clinton signed the bill into law. jim said, how sweet it is. how long it took. jim and sarah did not rest with that achievement. late foughtia tech, to close loopholes or did they
called for new restrictions after new town. on his last visit to the white ause, jim was wearing bracelet honoring gabby giffords. remembered forbe press room that bears his name. he was a true hero. as nancy reagan wrote, he was a patriot. he served his nation with honor. thank you, jim brady. [applause]
>> good morning. that is exactly what i did when i heard that jim brady was coming to the reagan campaign. i had known him in chicago. we had a good time there too. meets a grill treat to him. john conley's campaign had just collapsed. it spent $11 million and gotten one delegate. bearrady was known as the after winnie the pooh, came to reagan's campaign. he brought with him his wonderfully excavated -- extroverted personality. there was nobody in politics quite like him. enormoust with him and
store of information and a gift of irish gab and a fearlessly sharp wit. traits for agerous press secretary, even more for his principal. they were catnip to us. his bosses andto .he candidate that was when humor was safer. social media to speed along to everybody. brady had been around for twitter, god only knows what might've happened. ready with a quip and i quote. it seemed to be right of the top of his head, but it always fit
perfectly. somehow, he managed to serve his candidate well, but also satisfied those of us on the other side. not that his irrepressibly didn't occasionally land him in hot water. we all caps track of governor reagan's sometimes fanciful rhetoric. one fine autumn day, the campaign plane was descending somewhere in the midsouth. the speechwriter looked out the window and saw smoke rising from the forest below. killer trees, he said quietly. brady loved it. he bounced back to let all of us know look, killer trees.
mrs. reagan was not amused. nor was bill casey who did not have much of a sense of humor. jim was thrown off the plane for about three days. he returned on repentant with the same assessed for both his job and life in general. jim loved good food and good wine. we ate and drank our way through the primary, the convention, and the fall campaign. i have the expense account records to show for it. i went back and looked at them. it was wonderful. he loved to eat any love to cook.
after ronald reagan won the election, jim really wanted to be press secretary. heard, the transition team took their time. he was an outsider. he was perceived as more that one brady joked point so much time had elapsed and lunches with him during the transition were no longer tax-deductible. thatthe was the narrative suggest that nancy reagan thought that he was not good looking enough to be your husband's spokesman. point, he came out to begin his daily briefing saying i come before you today as not just another pretty face but out of sheer talent. [laughter] job, hisid get the
knowledge of the way washington , the president love brady style. , the kind ofess access that press secretaries need. those with a good times. he was of the top of his game and he loved every minute. here is the really important thing. after theinjury, moments of up-and-down, months of up-and-down before he left the hospital, jim brady was still someone who could laugh andhad the same sharp wit who despite his own pain still cared about his friends.
person iseasure of a in the way he or she deals with that adversity. jim brady was a champion. he showed the rest of us the kind of courage that we didn't know existed. him if interview i asked he was still bitter. he paused. said, it's not classy to be bitter. i try to be classy, as you know. effort i asked? he answered, yes. he made that effort valiantly for 33 years. stu spencer put it this way the other day. jim brady was a keeper.
that is what i hope will sustain and comfort sarah and scott and missy. thank you. [applause] >> mr. vice president, sarah and friends of jim brady, i first met jim several years before the white house. he was the press secretary for bill roth. moderateoth was a conservative republican and an honorable man. he was the quiet senator from delaware. [laughter]
he singly wore a hairpiece, which is one area were jim brady could provide no assistance. 1978 ofhe cosponsor in a tax cut that magically was going to raise gobs of new revenue. it was a nutty notion. voodoo economics. the other cosponsor was jack camp. jack kemp. was always the camp roth bill it should've been camp roth brady. next encounter was when he was campaign manager for john conley. john kelly was a bigger than life texan, overpowering.
power.cised top-down i wrote a profile which she disliked. he summoned his press secretary and said, get him fired. go to the ceo and get him fired. governor, you know those press pastored's allston together and i got nowhere. calmly replied, those sons of ditches. bithces. jim had called no one. in february, 1980 wanted, judy nine went to dinner with sarah and jim. i was the walk on. judy was the nbc white house correspondent. i covered politics for the journal and i asked a bunch of skeptical questions.
finally jim looked at me and right, iley was should've gotten your ass fired. we laughed and drank he was always fun. ,t was a great secretary appreciating the dual demands and the cities of loyalty and integrity. it is so fitting, as joe said earlier, that the press brake is named after jim. his first 40 years were impressive, his next 33, even more so. jim was unlucky that march day at the hilton, in the wrong place at the wrong time. but even more important is how lucky he was years earlier when he fell in love with and married sarah cap. you all were partners throughout. what you accomplished against great odds was remarkable. judy and i have a son with a brain injury and we know how
challenging and sometimes painfully difficult it can be. in addition to his great character and heart, he always had you, sarah. could not have done it without you. there is much to do in your quest or sensible gun policies in america and it will never be easy but there will be more progress and it will all be built on jim and sarah have caught. the jim brady story transcends our age. he was a profile in courage and determination against the odds. we will tell it to our grandchildren who will tell it to theirs. we were also lucky to have known the bear. -- [applause]
>> mr. vice president, friends of jim brady, it is wonderful to see all of you here. first tove to say sarah and your ordinary family, i am so deeply honored, as al is, to have been asked to say a few words about jim. it is great to see so many friends of his here, to celebrate his life. i love hearing the stories, i love laughing about jane, the man we knew. my memory of jim dates back to shortly before the election of 1980 when i was the nbc correspondent who had spent the previous four years covering president jimmy carter. so i have not had the opportunity to meet many people on the reagan team. not a good position for the white house correspondent.
so nbc quickly gloomy out to los angeles right after the election , i spent weeks out there, worked like mad to get to know everyone. how lucky i was to find jim brady, who are the reporters already liked and trusted, who even seemed a little sympathetic about my predicament as a newcomer. jim and i immediately hit it off. i thought i must he someone special but it turns out that is how he was with every reporter. he teased me all the time about the years that i have spent covering the georgia peanut farmer. he teased me about the lingering southern accent i could not completely get rid of. -- theut being with that newly married to al hunt. he wondered out loud if i really knew who this guy was a covered politics. i soon met sarah, and it was freer, they adored each other. they had a terrific sense of
humor, teased each other nonstop. when we went out to dinner, they people, as as real al mentioned. yes, we laughed a lot. we had many glasses of wine. they had many of the same thoughts and worries that we did, even though we had worked on opposite sides of the political divide. i brought a picture which you probably cannot see, it is one that i cherish. it hangs in al's study in our home. office a couple of weeks after he came to the white house, there was not much on the walls yet. scoop, iving me a big would like to say, but that is not the truth. i think he was explaining supply-side economics to a georgia peach. it took him a while. , and iterished this
reminds me of the personal connection that i felt to him and to sarah. a few weeks later, that connection was permanently sealed, but not in the way that i ever imagined. because i didn't join the press pool on the trip to the hilton hotel that day when jim and president reagan and agent tim mccarthy and officer tom delahanty were shocked. i was standing a few feet away next to the press than -- va and two months pregnant with our first son jeffrey. i will never forget how jim fought his way back from the .rink with sarah's help in instant, everything changed, but the twinkle in his eye, the teasing in his voice, that sharp mind that we know so well, and you have heard about this morning never left him.
whenever we saw jim over the years, and it is on in. he and sarah were active. he wanted to know about that crazy al that i had married. lou cannon told me this week that he is confident that even if jim had never been injured, he said we would still be celebrating his life right now. he was that kind of guy, he was always going to make a difference, would always have an effect on people. two other things. i feel a closer connection to jim and sarah because of our son jeff, who, 17 years after jim was shot, experienced a different kind of brain injury. sarah and jim were among the first people to reach out to us and every time we would see them the first thing they would ask about was just the. -- jeffrey. and second to sarah, when i think about jim's life and the funny and fun loving couple you
were, i see the seeds of the extraordinary bond that gave you the strength to be there with him for all those years. there are so many unheralded people who give much of themselves to take care of a lot of one. you embody the very best of who they are and what they do. jim could not have lived like he did without you. it is a privilege to know you. thank you. [applause] ♪
[applause] it was great to hear from the journalists about their relationship with jim. one of the advantages to having this many press secretaries together is that they agreed to hold a background briefing to go over some of the planning reports in detail. there has been allusions to a glass of water to. i hope the document proves us to be conservative estimates. everyone has made reference here today about jim and sarah's work when it comes to gun safety and gun violence. our next two speakers are people who have lived in the trenches on this issue over the last two decades and have made a difference in a terribly difficult and divisive issue. dan gross is the president of
the brady campaign to prevent gun violence. before that, he started the center to prevent youth violence and has devoted much of his life to the cause. many of you, who know, was central to putting this event together, has been at this since the late 1980's with handgun control, was the point person for all of us in the clinton administration to getting the brady bill done at the justice department. i think both of them can reflect on the incredible work and incredible accomplishments of jim and sarah brady when it comes to making this country safer. >> mr. vice president, sarah, scott, missy, friends and family of jim brady across the country,
it is a privilege to be here and it is my privilege to lead the organization that bears jim and sarah brady cost name, the campaign center to prevent gun violence. it has been my greater honor and privilege to know jim brady, to call him my friend, and in a way, he was even my brother. every time i saw jim was precious to me. either through words of wisdom thatjoke, or that twinkle i swear never left his eyes, even when he could no longer see , jim had a way of turning even a brief encounter into a lifetime memory. but as i was preparing these remarks, the one memory that stood out the most was the very last time i saw jim. it was extra special because i brought my two children to meet him for the first time, this man that had been so much to me and
had such a profound influence on our life, my life, on our nation . as we were introducing our kids to jim, sarah, who had already met them, told jim that my daughter played tennis. then there it was, jim last that mischievous grin as he playfully launched into a story about when sarah took up tennis and how she was more concerned about her fancy out and then she was with the sport herself -- itself. he also mentioned how great she looked in that out it. but the most special moment came as we were saying goodbye as we were walking out after a long visit. jim had to be tired. he called out to my daughter, and in his slurred speech, he said, good luck with your tennis. those were the last words i ever heard jim brady say and i don't think they could've been more fitting. that was the jim who really cared about you. that was the jim who really
cared about all of us, even if they were suffering more than he wanted you to know, that was the jim cared about people. and i believe that is why jim and sarah brady are the embodiment of the gun violence prevention movement, the greatest champions we have ever seen or the safer nation that we all want. because jim brady really cared about all of us. jim brady really loved this nation. when it comes down to it, i believe there are three things that jim brady's remarkable life tells us about gun violence in america. first is the toll of gun violence. 30,000 americans killed every year, about one million lives lost joomla! shop. -- jim was shot. the statistics are staggering, but what the story really tells us is the impact of just one of those bullets can have, just one.
that one bullet took jim's physical strength, cause profound lifelong health issues, put his loving wife sarah in the role of a lifelong caregiver, rob a brilliant and remarkably popular young press secretary of his career. my brother, too, was shot in the head and survived. like jim, my brother has worked remarkably. as i said, in a way, jim was my brother. every year, hundreds of thousands of more americans are introduced into our same tragic brotherhood and sisterhood, a family no one ever wants to join, all in an instant, in the same way, one bullet. us abouts story taught the importance of stronger, sensible gun laws. sarah showed a -- our nation why we need a background check before we buy a gun, which jim's shooter was
never subject to. jim and sarah did not stop until they push through one of the most important public safety laws in this nations history, the brady handgun prevention violence act which i stopped over 2 million gun sales to dangerous people and has prevented countless more from even trying. as we heard, when the corporate gun lobby argued that background checks were too inconvenient for gun buyers, jim, in his inimitable way, responded, i guess i am paying for there can be gets. -- inconvenience. sarah is fighting with us still. third and most importantly, jim brady teaches us about the strength of the human spirit. how victims can not only survive but thrive. how each of us can make a difference and how anyone of us
truly can change this country and the world. i believe that jim and sarah more lives than almost any citizens in our nations's history, and that is not hyperbole. there are literally millions of americans who will never notice of ring of gun violence because brady, and he did it without the trappings of power or wealth, a man that suffered a great injustice, who was robbed of so much, but refuse to be paralyzed by bitterness or hopelessness. jim brady was a great man and a good man who changed the world in profound and extraordinary ways. there will never be another jim brady. but that must not stop us from carrying on the fight that was so important to him. jim, we will follow in your example. thank you, jim brady. can't bless you. and as he would want me to thumbs up.ms up --
[applause] >> first i want to thank joe lockhart for all the work he has done to make this event, celebrating jim's life, so very special. and thank you all for joining in this wonderful sendoff for the bear. it was a tremendous privilege for me to work with and become so close to jim. for many years, the bradys have been like family to me. it is also a tremendous privilege for me to introduce our next speaker who jim adored. vice president biden and jim brady enjoyed a very long history together. before jim was white house press secretary, he served as an aide
delawarer bill roth of , back when joe biden was senator biden. neither could know then how much they would subsequently do together to alter the course of history and ultimately saved so many lives by getting the brady bill passed. during the effort to pass the brady bill, we relied heavily on senator biden, the chairman of the senate judiciary committee, to help shepherd the bill through the senate. he was always there for us, as was his tremendously dedicated staff. we were in constant communication and we knew that joe biden always had our back. later, when jim and sarah moved to remote with each, delaware, the mccains constituents of senator biden and a strong bond between the bradys and the bidens endured. the bear and the vice president have a lot in common.
speaking truths and telling it like it is. when jim first testified before the senate judiciary committee in 1989, he not only talked about what it was like to be in his wheels, but he said there were too many cowardly lion's walking the halls of congress. you bet there were. our next speaker was never one of them. in fact, he was and is a courageous public servant dedicated to the cause of making us all safer and doing what is right. vice president biden has been there for jim and sarah from the very beginning and immediately vice we lost our bear, president biden was there within the hour for sarah with an outpouring of love, and as always, offering to do anything and everything he could. as towas never a question who could best honor jim's
memory and legacy at an event like this. jim and sarah's longtime friend joe biden was the obvious person who could best speed to jim's public and private life. it is my great honor to ear's goodto you the b friend and our vice president of the united states, joe biden. [applause] >> my name is joe biden. i don't like twitter either. [laughter] oh for the good old days. my staff asked me whether i wanted a teleprompter, al. at one ofsident said
the gridiron dinners, he said, i am learning to speak without a teleprompter, joe is learning to speak with one. i don't think jim would have ever put me on a teleprompter. take one issue with what has gone on so far this morning. when the clergy stood here and recited those irish blessings, as the grandson of ambrose finnegan, i don't think any of those irish blessings were ones that jim would have been attached to. the one that i think he probably liked the most was the one that my grandfather ambrose finnegan used to use. he would say, may those who love us love us, and those who don't, may god turn their ankles so we see them coming by their limp. [laughter] brady-ology.is a
i don't know. all of these faux irish people out here, i don't know. [laughter] my mother had an expression, and it was real. she would say, joe, remember, you will be defined by your courage and redeemed by your loyalty. i cannot think of a better phrase to describe jim brady. jim was a national figure but we in delaware. before he went -- thought before he went to president reagan or governor connally, that he was delaware's property. i am told that jane roth may be here. judge, how are you? one of the best judges in the third circuit and a partner of bill roth the whole time.
i remember -- does jim was bills mr. secretary -- press secretary. the thing that would startle you is that we like each other. for 30 years, without exception, there was never one time where a harsh word or public criticism of the other the entire time. that perplexed and when he first came. jim and sarah got me in trouble with my then young children. jim had always had bill doing something really exotic. i will never forget the time that they were doing the kemp- roth bill. jim gott bill on top of that elephant. remember he was riding that elephant?
my daughter lookat me and says, daddy, why can't you be like senator ross? gail, thank you for that introduction. know -- i'mssy, i sure you appreciate all the love that your father engendered but i know it is hard to sit here and -- i know it is hard for you, sarah. we talked backstage. no matter whether it has been a week thomas a month, 20 years, of thes -- when moments morrill come along, they are appreciated, but they create that ache. there is, in ireland, a the --ne that reads
death leaves a heartache that no one can heal, but love leaves a memory that no one can steal. this is both a reminder of the heartache and love, and i admire you, and the heart of all the bidens goes out to you. said wheng ingersoll the world defies fear, when duty throws the gauntlet down to fate, when on her scores to compromise death, this is heroism. jim brady was heroic. it was all the things that everybody said, but to me, jim brady was simply heroic. life dealt him a really cruel blow, but the interesting thing about jim was, in the 30 years
since that time, is that jim never compromised. jim was never ever defeated. he said back in 1986, you have got to persevere, keep a sense of humor. he said they could not she got away. and they never did. but he did not just persevere, he triumphed. and he did it with such dignity and grace and fierce .etermination he turned tragedy in action. that, youtalk about are either made better or worse but you never stay the same after some god thing happens to you. but what is interesting about jim is he turned it all into action. he not only reached out to
survivors of gun violence, but he reached out to the disabled with a message of encouragement and hope on the road to recovery. and the reason why it mattered so much to them, and you could see it in their eyes, is because they knew that he knew, that he understood, and he literally heal, and he gave hope. when you are in jim's position, it takes a hell of a lot to focus on someone else's pain. a hell of a lot to spend the energy and time to communicate to other people that have gone through something like you have up, torough, to stand fight. al, sarah, i think it was
who said it. yours was a great love affair. we have all been around long enough to know when we see couples who are still couples, but every once in a while, you see a couple and you can tell it is still a love affair. it is not just they have grown used to each other, not just that they love each other, it is a love affair. that is a remarkable thing. what an incredible gift you gave to one another. what a model for your kids to know that that is how it was. you know, i don't ever remember, youh, seeing jim without after the assassination attempt.
know, the interesting thing to me is through a whole lot of pains taking effort and all of the frustration that you felt, the thing that is missing aret now in washington, you able to generate consensus and bring people together. thetched, when we wrote biden crime bill that contained the brady bill, the assault weapons ban, the other things, and i would watch how you would both import to my colleagues in the hallway. they were scared to death to walk you. -- by you. you, it was like, oh god, what am i going to do? [laughter] it was a pleasure watching jim work