tv Gabrielle Giffords- Leo J. Ryan Cloakroom Dedication Ceremony CSPAN November 18, 2017 10:34pm-11:10pm EST
ceremony dedicating the house democratic cloakroom in honor of representative gabby giffords and the late congressman leo ryan, both government -- both victims of gun violence. this is 35 minutes. rep. pelosi: good morning, everyone. thank you for being here. as we begin, let us welcome to the room a national heroine, congresswoman gabby giffords.
>> [applause] rep. pelosi: and the children of leo ryan, patricia and kevin>> ] ryan. >> [applause] rep. pelosi: we are very honored that senator jeff flake has joined us from the senate side. thank you, senator. >> [applause] rep. pelosi: we will be hearing from congresswoman jacky's beer and congresswoman frederica wilson, who will make further introductions. let me say what an honor ist is on this occasion to welcome this special group of people to honor giffords and leo ryan. some colleagues of leo ryan's -- nick.giffords and leo you served with him -- oh my goodness. dale, did you serve? >> [laughter] rep. pelosi: congressman alexander, did nick.
you serve with l eo? >> [applause] rep. pelosi: it is an honor to ourome you here, and all of colleagues who served with gabby, and some who are new to the congress. congress, but true to honoring the traditions of this great body. many have served in the congress, and sometimes i say we are all colleagues to each other. i take special pride in saying that, because my father served in congress 40 years before i did 2500 miles away with a different name, congress, but n, my colleague. it is a privilege to welcome this wonderful gathering of friends and colleagues to accelerate two extraordinary -- to celebrate two extraordinary lives of courage. we dedicate the gabby giffords and leo ryan room in honor of
our former colleagues. we inscribed their names on the halls to their enduring legacies of heroism and self business. -- and selflessness. gabby continues to awe us in her road to recovery and her tireless mission to build a better future for all americans. her tireless friendship is a source of joy, and it is an honor to welcome you back to the capital. throughout america, there is not a name that stirs more love, more wishing to be like her than can be giffords. she refused to bow. she has continued to advance the mission of civic engagement. constituents were fulfilling that day. she and mark are national treasures.
spirit, continuing constituents were gabby's work. her message of civility is inspiring for this congress, and the country. that is what the hallmark of her service was, bipartisanship and civility. her leadership to end the gun epidemic leads to a future where no family has to enjoy the heartbreak of gun violence. we are honored to dedicate this testament to as a her selflessness, briefly, and strength. we celebrate the life of congressman leo j. ryan. an irrepressible fighter for relentless champion for the people of california, and a loving husband and father of five. preached theimply value of justice and equality, he lived that commitment.
it is our neighborhood. stories. distributed by discrimination, leo became a teacher so he could investigate bigotry. alarmed by prison abuse, he adopt a pseudonymdistributed by, and status of inmate in a maximum security prison. he tackled animal, to the secret -- animal poaching to the secret wars of the cia. leo's brutal killing in jonestown left whole in our hearts, but it brings his loved one's solace knowing that leo died doing what he loved doing most, fighting for justice and protecting his community. we are blessed to be here with members of his family, and jackie spear, who carries on his mission in the congress today.
shortly before leo died, he told an nbc cameraman, also killed in the attack, that the most important lesson he learned was if you give in to fear, you can't do your job. with those words be a source of strength to all of us. we are so proud of jackie spear for so many reasons. to call her colleague is a special honor, and to call her friend is a joy in our lives. part of who instigated what is happening today -- you won't be surprised -- she is an instigator, congresswoman frederica wilson of florida. every week she has us wearing red, remembering our girls in nigeria. she has been a champion of respecting the dignity and worth of every person.
i will let her tell her story in connection to today's historic event. please welcome congresswoman frederica wilson. >> [applause] rep. wilson: thank you so much madam leader. protocol has already been established. when i arrived in congress in 2011, i met congresswoman jackie spear. i soon realized she was the woman who was -- woman whose heroic adventures were chronicled in the jonestown lifetime movies. on the floor of the house, i would watch this woman with so much grace and poise,much graced wonder how she overcame so much. i was intrigued. so one day i sat next to her and
asked her to tell me exactly what happened. it was a story of an amazing, courageous, an outstanding constituent service, rendered by a congressman who was dedicated to his job and to his district. i was in awe. i asked her if congress ever honored him in any way, or anything had been designated with his name, and she said no. i said, congresswoman, he was a hero, they never did? she said, no. i said, that is terrible. i think something should be done, even though it had been 36 years since hisyears since his . after all, he was the first member of congress to lose his life on foreign soil while conducting official business. i gave her a big hug, and i
praised her family thanked her for her commanders sacrifice -- sacrifice to our country. it brought tears to my eyes. i asked leader pelosi about it, and she agreed that something should be done. sacrifice to ournever gave country. up. i filed a resolution honoring the bravery of congressman ryan his team member congresswoman jackie spear for taking his team member congresswoman jackie spear for taking an essential fact finding missing to guiana. mind, he was a true american hero, a national policies who -- a man of all seasons wh went above and beyond the call of duty. he worked as a substitute teacher in los angeles to
investigate the conditions following the watts riots. if that wasn't enough, when his constituents complained to him that family members were being held against their will, he put his own life at risk to travel to johnstown to investigate. that is the kind of man he was. so we continued on our journey of finding something to name in his honor. of conversations, meetings, revolutions, floor speeches, and anniversary commemorations, today is the day we have all been waiting for. through the years, members would ryan?e, who was leo did you know him? i said no, but i saw the movie
"jonestown." >> [laughter] rep. wilson: what a story. on monday morning, leader pelosi said, we did it. i was so happy to found out congressman ryan -- congresswoman gabby giffords and the ryan were getting justice they rightly deserved. congresswoman giffords has championen a fearless for her constituents. indeed, it was the zeal for serving her communities that put her in harm's way. in spite of being shot and a congresswoman on your corner event, she continues to be one of the most
effective advocates for gun safety and violence prevention in the nation. gabby, we love you, and we honor you today. i know that as members enter the ryanellegabby, we love gifford. willratic cloakroom, they appreciate the sacrifice of these two extraordinarily wonderful public servants, and continue to be inspired by their selfless spirit and zeal, to do whatever it takes to serve their constituents. thank you to the ruling family for -- ryan family for lending him to us. thank you congresswoman giffords and spear for being such an inspiration to all those who choose to serve this great country. you of his demise the message --
thatpitomize the message democrats have coined. you are a better deal. >> [laughter] [applause] rep. pelosi: [laughter] she told quite a story. now we will hear a first-hand naming these rooms, as young people see them, it will provoke the question. if they know about gabby currently, they will know more about leo ryan. it is an honor to call jackie sphere a colleague. i would like to call her up to the podium. >> [applause]
rep. spear: excuse me if i am not is composed as i should be, but this is an extraordinary day. aboutl of us who care values that make the democratic party, and the democratic caucus so great. forricka, thank you elbowing me to do what i always wanted to do, but had a difficult time coming to grips with the fact that it was so long ago, and so few remembered. to our leader nancy pelosi, i will never forget this. it was leader pelosi who suggested we name the cloakroom after gabrielle giffords and leo ryan. embryo, you are in -- gabrielle, you are an everyday reminder of why we do this work.
your extraordinary courage, your heroism is something we all be, buto be, will never you stand for us to try and achieve that level of commitment to our work. congresswoman giffords and congressman ryan never met. gabby was eight years old when leo ryan was assassinated. but their shared virtues are many. as members of congress, gabby an d leo were fearless fighters who always punched up, not down. they were also both laser focused on their districts, willing to make any sacrifice for their constituents. sacrifice.e ultimate fortunately, gabby's superhero
and the prayers of every american allowed us to keep her. there is so much more work this leader must do. i and the prayers of every american allowed us to won as a high school volunteer, as a college intern, as a hill staffer, and lastly as his legislative council. if there is one word that describes him, it might be troublemaker. he'd probably have a more colorful word to use. nothing made them happier than challenging the status quo. the congressman was iconoclastic, brash, and fearless. he had an acute sensory perception that allowed him to smell a rat. eatiked to say, i
bureaucrats for lunch. >> [laughter] a healthyr: leo had skepticism of experts and felt compelled to see events firsthand. 1965, itce riots of was leo ryan who went with one of his colleagues to watts. ofyou have heard before, one poorest schools in the community. when inmates complained about some human conditions in california prisons, he had himself booked, strip-searched, and incarcerated for 10 straight days at. straight prison. -- at folsom state prison. he had conversations about the san francisco-based cult leader, a reverent at the time known as jim jones. he had found what was known as the church of the people's temple.
he recently had moved about 900 of his numbers, leaving around 9000 or so in san francisco. to deanna.0 members a fair number of them were seniors. some were idealistic young people looking for utopia. abuse,l abuse, sexual andal abuse, might control enslavement were some of the charges by defectors who left the church. leo wanted answers. what few understood was that jim jones had considerable political clout. he had close ties to the democratic leaders in sacramento, and even in the carter state department. congressman ryan knew that. been told the church
had weapons, and that jim jones was paranoid, and quite possibly on drugs. told the church there was no telling what jones would do if cult members chose to defect. politically, there was nothing jones, by taking on jim and there was everything to lose, but congressmanthere was d not care about doing what was popular. he cared about doing what was right. week,rs ago, this congressman ryan lost his life while trying to rescue americans. including children from a delusional madman on a remote airstrip. i remember his single-mindedness, his focus. saying, we have to help
these people. described theer highest calling of men and women who enter the democratic caucus cloakroom. we have to help these people. leo ryan, and of the enduring example of gabrielle giffords inspire all of us to remember that simple concept. we are here to help people. introducemy honor to someone who followed in her father's footsteps, who made it her business for professional career to help people. in california, she represented the mental health community, to make sure clients that needed mental health services could get
them. and she was extremely successful. please welcome pat ryan. >> [applause] ms. ryan: wow. tireless warriors. jackie did not talk much about herself. maybe do not understand that she still has bullets lodged in her body from her trip with my father. maybe do not she was left for dead. gabby giffords and jackie spie
r, you are true warriors. the fact that you continue to distant -- to want to help people is amazing. thank you. >> [applause] thank speakern't pelosi enough for this great honor. i had no idea that representative wilson was involved in this, so thank you for pushing this to happen. we are so honored to have my father's name associated with gabby giffords in the democratic cloakroom. thanks especially to jackie, who has been a lifelong friend. for pushing this to happen. i knew her when she was volunteering in my father campaign as an intern.
we go way back. [laughter] even after 39 years, the fact that she continues to persevere to make that my father's name is not forgotten so much to our family. -- means so mcuh to our family. tirelessour father's commitment in public service, social justice, his country, and constituents, are not forgotten. our father was an educator by regional profession who felt literally called to public service when president john f. kennedy challenged americans to ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country. he was part of that generation, and it meant something to him. were alwayssiblings
taught that public service is honorable, personal integrity is everything. i'm looking at senator flake while i say that. and politics should not be primarily about party, but rather good public policy and government on behalf of we, the people. we still believe that fervently. but frankly we wish more politicians these days felt the same. we will forever be proud of our father. contributions he made to his country during his short life, which as we all know, was cut short in pursuit of justice who constituents who
were being held against their will in jonestown. it is our hope by honoring his memory in this way, other congressional representatives who pass through this room, now and in the future, will be daily that the important public service ideals for which leo j. daily ryan ulty gave his life. thank you. >> [applause] rep. pelosi: so very beautiful. see a theme. i called frederica an instigator. your father a troublemaker. all for the greater good. thank you fre father a troublemaker. derica, for your
wonderful remarks, jackie, and patricia. jackie is a survivor as well. thank you for your courage throughout it all. i have been with the family since your father's funeral. those who served with him, thank you for being here. it is an honor that you did. i wish you all could have seen what happened at his funeral. it was such a tremendous outpouring of support. again, we continue that outpouring of respect. it is an honor to move to our other co-honoree, congresswoman gabby giffords. we are very honored, because ga about civilitys
and partisanship. she loves flake is with us today. he was our colleague that served with leo. and partisanship. she loves her state of arizona. it is great that senatorsenators today. thank you so much. >> [applause] >> i have been called floyd quite a bit. speaking of flakes -- >> [laughter] my -- ghe pulled me aside and said, you just elected gabby giffords to come to congress, you will like her. those were his first words to me about gabby. he served with her, and he was right. gabby.iately liked
we loved to sit on the floor during votes and talk about constituent services. we would compare the letters we would receive. to secure bit of ways the border. i enjoyed those times so much. day thatver forget the i heard of the shooting. carmediately jumped in my for tucson. we got to the hospital, there for a couple of days hoping she would pull through -- and she did. and she has recovered
spectacularly. it has been such an honor to know her. we in the arizona delegation left an empty chair in her honor. it was so wonderful, wonderful aid or, to be there with her -- one year later, to be there with her. one of the most memorable moments i will have had in my 18 years here was to be able to sit with her and stand with her during that state of the union address. it was president obama speaking. a lot of democratic applause lines. i started getting texts and emails from people saying, why
are you standing for those applause lines? i was so proud to stand with gabby giffords. she was recovering. she was the strongest person in that chamber. i am so proud of her. arizonand to be an with her. i am called of those who made -- i am proud of those who made the effort to bring this about. they will always be remembered. thank you for having me here and allowing me to be here and share this honor. thank you. [applause] >> thank you for honoring us with your presence. thank you so much.
as the senator referenced, when floor, wheno the she came to vote against a particular bill -- [laughter] it wasn't that day. when she came back to make a vote because she thought the vote would be necessary to defeat a certain bill on the floor, the civility and bipartisanship, when she came to the floor, i said to the pages, over time, pages have borne witness to many great things happening in this chamber of the house of representatives, but you, current weight -- current witness towill be
welcoming a person with such respect in this country, i do not know if other pages have had that privilege. you do today and we do today to welcome gabby giffords. [applause] >> thank you for inviting me here today. haul, been a long, hard but i am getting better. i am working hard, lots of therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy.
my spirit is as strong as ever. i am fighting to make the world a better place and you can, too. get involved in your community. be a leader, set examples, be passionate, courageous, beer best. -- be your best. thank you very much. [applause] >> the history of these hallowed as inspiration. all to liveenge us with the same moral courage of
its namesake. be a reminder to fulfill the same commitment to community and country. source ofn eternal hope, optimism, civility, and strength to all who walk these halls. thank you very much for coming. as you continue to mix and mingle, as you leave, you will see the signage as you go forward. when you come into the cloak room, you will see the likenesses commemorated further. aren't you glad you came today? we are glad you did, too. [applause]
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