James B. Comey
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Funeral of NYPD Officer Wenjuan Liu
New York City, New York
January 4, 2015

A Tribute to New York Police Department Officer Wenjian Liu

Remarks prepared for delivery.

Good morning. It is an honor to be here to pay tribute to Detective Liu.

These are the most difficult days we face.

We struggle to find meaning in tragedy.

We struggle to find words to measure loss.

I did not have the privilege of knowing Detective Liu, but it is clear he was beloved.

I am told he was unfailingly kind and thoughtful.

He truly cared about people, which is why he became a police officer.

Many members of Detective Liu’s family are here today.

Although we all mourn him, we know you feel his loss most deeply.

We hope you can take some comfort in knowing you are part of a very large law enforcement family, a family that circles the globe, a family that will never forget and will carry on his legacy every day.

One of the saddest things I do as FBI Director is call the departments of officers killed in the line of duty in our country, to express the FBI’s sorrow and offer our support.

I’m making far too many calls.

We had 115 officers killed in the line of duty last year, a shocking increase from 2013.

I don’t know why there is so much evil and heartache in our world. But even though I can’t understand evil—can’t explain evil—I believe our obligation is to try to make something good come from tragedy and refuse to let evil hold the field. Refuse to let evil win the day.

Nothing we do will ever make this unspeakable loss somehow “worth it,” but we must honor this good man by working every day to better protect those who protect us.

Like Detective Liu, the men and women of law enforcement accept the demands and dangers of their work, because they see it as a calling.

They signed up for this because they want to protect innocent people.

They want to rescue children, save neighborhoods, and make life better for ordinary folks.

That’s why they do this.

That’s why they risk their lives, because they know that we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. They have chosen to make the right kind of lives, by securing life for all of us.

And so they place themselves in harm’s way, again and again.

In 1985, President Reagan addressed mourners at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, at a service for lost members of the 101st Airborne Division. I want to paraphrase his words because he speaks for us and to us today:

The man we mourn today was a peacemaker. He was there to protect life and preserve peace, to act as a force for stability and hope and trust. His commitment was as strong as his purpose was pure.

I am honored to be here today—on behalf of the FBI, the Department of Justice, and the entire federal government—to pay tribute to a fallen peacemaker, a force for stability and hope and trust in this great city.

I hope and trust that all of you, but especially Detective Liu’s family, can find peace and strength.

Thank you.