Pelosi Remarks at North Bay Fires Day Of Remembrance
Contact: Taylor Griffin, 202-226-7616
Santa Rosa, CA – House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined Congressman Mike Thompson, Congressman Jared Huffman, Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, community leaders and first responders for a Day of Remembrance ceremony in honor of those who lost their lives in the North Bay wild fires. Below are the Leader’s remarks:
Leader Pelosi. Thank you, all. Thank you, Pat [Kerrigan]. Many honors are afforded Members of Congress but I can’t think of anything that surpasses the opportunity to be with all of you today.
It is with great humility and great sadness, that I bring the condolences of our colleagues in the Congress of the United States to all of you.
Especially, the sympathy to those who have lost their loved ones, lost their loved ones in the fire that they didn’t expect would be coming – lost your homes and in some cases their livelihoods.
So it is an honor for me to be here with your Congressman, Congressman Mike Thompson who has been with you so remarkably through all of this – Congressman Jared Huffman representing parts of this area as well. And we’re joined by Congresswoman Anna Eshoo and Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren from the San Francisco Bay Area.
We were told not to bring everyone because we have work to do, but know that everyone is here with you. It’s so very, very sad and heartbreaking. So today, we offer our solemn gratitude, [we] join you in offering solemn gratitude to our first responders who risked their lives to protect neighbors and strangers alike – doing so even when they lost their own homes.
Today, I’ll have the privilege of making a presentation along my colleagues. But before I do, I want to give you the commitment that we will do everything we can and be with you as long as it takes to meet your needs.
Thank you for the Governor [Jerry Brown] for the Day of Proclamation but for all of the services we’ve been hearing about, thank you to FEMA for being there and all that you will do.
You know, we can’t immediately say how soon we make the people who lost their families, their loved ones, their homes, their livelihoods, their business – how soon we can make you whole, but we know we can give you hope.
People frequently say, ‘Well, where can we find hope amongst all of this?’ Well, hope is where it’s always been: sitting right there between faith and love. We heard from our faith community about how faith strengthens us. Indeed, it is a source of hope.
It is the love that we have faith in that gives us hope. So, Pat mentioned a phrase that was in the building. There was another one, a more recent one that was posted there. It says, ‘Love in the air is thicker than the smoke, love in the air is thicker than the smoke.‘
Didn’t we hear that with the beautiful reception you gave Pat [Kerrigan] for her leadership and friendship through all of this? Didn’t we hear that when Pat introduced Vincente [Reyes] and talking about the children and how important this is, doing all we can for the children? Didn’t we hear that with the Sheriff, Sheriff Rob [Giordano] and all that he did described with the sacrifice of his workers? Didn’t we hear with Fire Chief [Tony] Gossner talking about the sacrifice of those? And Ken Primlott, didn’t we hear love in the air from what he had to say as well.
So we know that people should have hope because that strength springs from their faith – faith in themselves, faith in God, faith in the future and the love that is in the air thicker than smoke.
There is a lot more to be done. [Congressman] Mike Thompson and [Congressman] Jared Huffman keep us very posted on what is needed so that we – in real time – as fast as we can, faster than ever – respond to your needs.
Listen to your flexibility that your Mayor [Chris Coursey] told us about earlier and the rest so we can rebuild the North Bay and build it in a way that has already demonstrated to be a model to the world – in rescue, in relief and now, in recovery.
The sense of community here is something so very, very remarkable. So now I have the privilege – as we offer our solemn gratitude to the first responders who risked their lives – to make a special presentation on behalf of the Congress. And I want my colleague [Congressman] Mike Thompson to come forward and [Congressman] Jared Huffman and [Congresswoman] Anna Eshoo and [Congresswoman] Zoe Lofgren. Let you know that Mike and Jared have just been there with all of you making sure we do everything we need to do.
They are going to join me here as I make a special presentation. As they come up, it is my understanding that following this presentation there will be a ringing of the bells – one for each of the people who died in the fires, and when those bells go off it will be like the beating of our hearts and it will transmit into our hearts the lives of those 42 – hopefully no more than 42 people. They will always be with us in our hearts and with their presence, the presence of all of you and the needs that you have.
And so, now I have the privilege of presenting a flag that flew over the Capitol and it says that, ‘This flag was flown over the United States Capitol’ – mentions the Members of Congress – ‘in remembrance of the lives tragically lost, but it is also flown in recognition of the bravery and strength of our first responders.’
So we present it to Fire Chief [Tony] Gossner – please accept this flag on behalf of the Congress.
# # #