Pelosi Remarks at Giffords Unveiling of Gun Violence Memorial on National Mall
Apr 14, 2021
Contact: Speaker’s Press Office,
Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Senator Chris Murphy, Congresswoman Lucy McBath and Congressman Mike Thompson for the unveiling of a Gun Violence Memorial at the National Mall in remembrance of lives lost to gun violence. Below are the Speaker’s remarks:
Speaker Pelosi. Thank you so much for your beautiful words of introduction, which I accept on behalf of the courage of the House Democrats, who again and again have passed this legislation for commonsense gun violence prevention.
I use two words here. Honor – it is an honor to be here with, of course, our colleague, Congresswoman McBath. Everyday she inspires us with her courage and her – turning her tragedy into saving the lives of others. She said it was humbling, an honor to be here with Gabby Giffords – and it is indeed an honor and humbling to be with both of them, for their courage.
Gabby Giffords was a courageous Member of Congress, even before the tragedy of her – Congress in the grocery store – ‘Congress on the Corner.’ I had the privilege, with other Members, a couple of other Members, to be with Gabby when she first opened her eyes following that attempt on her life. I have had the privilege of seeing her determination, whether it was speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, whatever it was, to be determined to come back to make this fight.
When she came to the Congress to vote on a budget bill, it was the first time many people had seen her since the tragedy. And I said – I said to the young people who were gathered there to see her, ‘In the history of our country, many young people have seen acts of courage on the Floor of the House, but no one will have seen the courage of Gabby Giffords until today.’ She is a remarkable person, as you see, and to hear her make the remarks that she did this morning is a real triumph. And so again, with humility, and as an honor to Congresswoman Lucy McBath and to Gabby Giffords – again, two women with a mission.
I also want to thank our other colleagues who are here. I want to thank Senator Murphy for being an endless, persistent, dissatisfied voice, especially for the children of Newtown. Who would have ever expected that when an assault was made on little children that we would not have legislation? We will have legislation because of [Chris] Murphy’s persistence in the Senate. Thank you, Senator Murphy
To my colleague, Mike Thompson, who has been the Chair for a long time now of our task force in the House, who was the author of our legislation for background – sensible background checks. A hunter, a collector, a wounded veteran, been on both sides of a gun. He understands the Constitution, the Second Amendment, and he understands about safety for our children. Thank you, Mike Thompson, for your leadership.
Again, from personal experience, our colleague, Jim Clyburn, the distinguished Whip – Democratic Whip of the House. He knew the people at Mother Emanuel Church, and he knew what legislation would have made a difference to save their lives. So with Mr. Thompson's H.R. 8 and with Mr. Clyburn's H.R. 1446, we will be able to save lives.
So here we are – and Peter, thank you, Peter Aguilar, for your leadership for Giffords.
Here we are in front of this beautiful display: 40,000 flowers in front of the Capitol of the United States, a work of art. Sometimes art has a way of delivering a message that is different than just our talking about common sense. Hopefully, it will touch the hearts of some of the people that we're trying to change the minds of. That every flower is a life that could be saved, that many lives have been saved because of the background checks many of us were a part of in the nineties. But what is needed now is more, and our colleagues will be talking about that – so I thank all of them for their courage, for their leadership, for their wisdom about how we go forward and strategic thinking.
Let me just close by saying about the President of the United States. He's come with us on a number of occasions when the survivors have descended upon Washington, D.C. They have spoken to him alone in a room, because they all belong to a club that none of us wants to belong to, a club of those who have lost a child in all of this. And he has made a commitment to them, a commitment that we share, that we are not stopping until the job is done.
We will be relentless, persistent, dissatisfied until the job is done. We passed the legislation in the House. It is time for the – long overdue for the Senate to act For The People, For The Children.
So, thank you, Gabby, for bringing us together in front of this – what would be considered a beautiful display, except for the heartbreaking-ness. Now, it takes your breath away, to see the beauty of this art installation. But gun violence takes away the breath of so many people. It must stop. Hopefully, hopefully, today will make a difference.
With that, I'm pleased to yield back, and I thank our – all who are gathered here and so many others who are working on this issue. And I thank the families and survivors, because their persistence is going to make a great difference as well. But let us again be grateful that we have a President who will sign this legislation, in addition to being an inspiration for it as well.
Thank you so much.
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