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I Was Privileged To Call Him Friend

Rep. John Murtha and Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Today, with the passing of Jack Murtha, America lost a great patriot. He served our country on the battlefield winning two Purple Hearts and the Bronze Star. He served his country in his community winning the hearts of his constituents and served in the Congress winning the respect of his colleagues.

On Saturday, he became the longest-serving Member of Congress from Pennsylvania, and one of the most distinguished. He is well-recognized as a champion of our national security; always putting the troops and their families first. He quietly and regularly visited our men and women serving our country who were injured to assess their needs and offer them thanks and encouragement. As proud Marine, he was always Semper Fi!

The nation saw his courage writ large when he spoke out against the military engagement in Iraq — winning him the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award.

Jack was also a hero in advancing scientific research to fight breast cancer, prostate cancer, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS. He measured the strength of our country by our military might and also by the well-being of the American people.

San Francisco lost a good friend in Jack Murtha. His leadership as Chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee was essential in turning the Presidio from post to park.

Dedicated to God and Country, and devoted to Joyce and their family, Jack Murtha was a giant. All who served with him were honored to call him colleague. I was privileged to call him friend.

I hope that is a comfort to Joyce; their children, Donna Sue, John and Patrick; and their grandchildren that so many people mourn their loss and are praying for them at this very sad time.

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