Victims' Rights Caucus

Speeches

Madam Speaker, to be a police officer or a member of the United States military is a gift, a sacrifice; and it is an honor. The uniform they wear is a commitment to protecting society, guarding the weak, giving back to the community, and fighting the forces of evil. Every day, they risk their lives, and tonight I want to talk about one of these of the rare breed.

Ryan Adam Miller from Pearland, Texas, and 19 years of age, was a third generation marine. His grandfather was a marine in the great World War II. His father Frank was a marine in Vietnam. Ryan was so committed to a future defending others, he graduated from high school early just so he could enlist into the United States Marine Corps and follow in the footsteps of Dad and Granddad, those who came before him.

While Ryan loved the Corps, his dream didn't end with service to his country. He has another wish, another sacrifice he wanted to make. He wanted to finish his military career in the Marine Corps and join another force, the very same police force both his mother and father gave decades of their lives to.

Both Ryan's parents served for years in the Houston Police Department. I know both of them because of my experience as a prosecutor and as a judge. At the last Houston Police Department cadet graduation this summer, I spoke to Ryan's mother Jeannie, who told me her son was coming back to Houston after he finished his tour of duty in Iraq to be a Houston police officer. This dream was almost a reality. Ryan even had planned to wear his mother's badge once he returned home for good.

With two parents who were dedicated law officers, Ryan knew the tough, rugged life that lay ahead. He also knew the joys that came with the job. Both his parents instilled in Ryan community pride, dedication, and passion to serve others. Ryan Adam Miller's goals, commitment, and faith are proof of that.

His mother recalls speaking to him last week when he talked of the fear that battle brings. He told her that he was praying, and God took away the fear of battle. One of Ryan's last acts was to give that peace to his parents, leaving them with the comfort that God would take care of him.

Sadly, he was just days away from returning home when, on September 14, this young marine 5 days ago was killed on patrol by an IED during combat operations against enemy forces in Al Anbar Province, Iraq.

A loss not only for his family and our country, but our community back home in Texas. In these dark days of mourning, many people are no doubt trying to muster an encouraging word to comfort his parents. But it is their fellow police officers who have the most powerful and comforting thing to say. They say to him, they say to his parents, these officers in blue, ``He would have made a fine police officer.''

Ryan Miller was a fine marine. He was a fine human being, and today as a Member of the United States House of Representatives, I send my best to the Miller family and give them America's support as they fight their own battle over his death.

His death was not a loss, because he gave his life over there for all of us over here. Today we honor Ryan, we honor the parents of this marine and their sacrifices. I also pause today to remember the marines who served with Ryan, and all those who volunteered to defend and protect this great country. They are the fabric of this great Nation.

While the blood of their fellow comrades is the red color in the stripes of Old Glory, these few, these proud, these marines, keep us free to see the stars, stars of liberty, freedom and justice. So Semper Fi, Lance Corporal Ryan Adam Miller, Semper Fi, and God bless these sons of America.

And that's just the way it is.