Atty. Gen. Holder Delivers Uplifting, Cheerleader-like Speech to the Troops

Atty. Gen. Holder/doj file photo
By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — Sometimes the troops need an uplifting, cheerleader-like speech.

And that’s what Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. — who has sometimes been the Republicans’ favorite pinata — delivered Monday to a crowd of more than 100 employees at the Great Hall at the Department of Justice at 950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW.

“I have been privileged to serve this Department, I have worked alongside – and learned from – some of the world’s most talented and dedicated lawyers, law enforcement officials, and public servants. Every day, you and your colleagues – a team that’s now more than 114,000 members strong – carry out your important jobs with the simple, but essential, goals of protecting and improving lives – and pursuing justice in every case, every circumstance, and every community.”

“Like you, I love this Department. And, like you, I am proud – not only to serve it, but also to champion its work.”

“Just over two years ago, together, we launched a new chapter in the Department’s extraordinary history. And I was honored that – on that February day – so many of you welcomed me home.

“That day, as I stood before you – and swore the oath of office for the last job I will ever hold here – I laid out three priorities that would guide our work. First, and most importantly, I promised that the Department’s top priority – and our chief responsibility – would be protecting the security, rights, and interests of the American people.

“I also pledged to reinvigorate the Department’s traditional missions and breathe new life into important areas that had been overlooked in recent years.

“Finally, I promised to heal the Department – by rebuilding morale and restoring credibility. As a young lawyer, I had seen my first boss and one of my personal heroes – Attorney General Edward Levi – do just that in the wake of the Watergate scandal.”

” At a time of deep national division – and widespread cynicism and mistrust of government – he provided the leadership and vision necessary to bring this Department together, to raise standards, and to remind the American people of why this institution – and its work to protect this nation – is essential, and how it positively affects every city and community; every neighborhood and home; every life.”

“Two years later, I am proud to say that we have kept our word. Because of you – your hard work, your commitment, your willingness to sacrifice, and your eagerness to improve the lives of others – we have made meaningful, measurable progress in fulfilling the pledges we made to the American people.

“Of course, it hasn’t always been easy. Department of Justice employees face some of the most challenging circumstances and complex issues in government. And your work has never been more difficult.

“Your work matters,” he said later on his speech.” And your success is no hollow achievement. Your constant vigilance and ongoing commitment to collaboration, the sleep that you’ve sacrificed and the time with your families that you’ve cut short, the hours that you’ve logged in offices and courthouses, in the back rooms of investigation sites and on the front lines of community safety efforts – that work has made a difference.”

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