|ABOUT SECRETARY OF COMMERCE RON BROWN|
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT: April 03, 1996 The Department of Commerce 4:09 P.M. EST; THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Dr. Good. Ladies and gentlemen, the Vice President and the First Lady and the members of the Cabinet and I wanted to come here to be with the employees of the Commerce Department at this very difficult hour. Hillary and I have just come from Ron Brown's home, visiting with Alma and Michael and their family and friends who are there. And we wanted to come and spend a few moments with you.
As all of you know, the plane carrying Secretary Brown and his delegation, including a number of your colleagues, business leaders and members of the United States military, went down today near Dubrovnik, Croatia. We do not know for sure what happened there. But I wanted to come here today, as it is almost Passover for American Jews and I know a lot of you will want to be leaving soon, just to have the chance to say a few words to you. The first thing I want to say is before I left I asked Alma, I said, "Alma, what do you want me to say when I go to the Commerce Department?" She said, tell them Ron was proud of them, that he liked them, that he believed in them, and that he fought for the Commerce Department, and tell them that you're going to do that now, which I thought was an incredible thing. (Applause.) I've known Ron Brown a long time.
I was always amazed at the way he was continually reaching out trying to bridge the differences between people, always trying to get the best out of people, always believing that we could do more than we have done. In a way, this job was sort of ready-made for him at this moment in history, and he loved it very much. Most of the time, Ron Brown spent using the power of the Commerce Department to find ways to give opportunity to ordinary Americans, to generate jobs for the American economy and build better futures for American citizens. But when we met earlier this week, right before he left for the Balkans, he was so excited because he thought that, along with these business leaders and the other very able people from the Commerce Department on this mission, that they would be able to use the power of the American economy to help the peace take hold in the Balkans, to help people in that troubled place have the kind of decent, honorable and wonderfully ordinary lives that we Americans too often take for granted. And he was so excited by it.
If you saw any of the clips on the
television that have been showing today about his meetings yesterday, you could
see that. I just want to say, on a very personal note that I hope all Americans
today will be grateful for what all the people who were on that plane did -- for
the military personnel, for the business leaders, who didn't have to go on that
mission, who did it not out of a sense of their own profit, but out of a sense
of what they could do to help America bring peace. To all of the wonderful
people in the Commerce Department that were on that plane, some of them very
young -- one of them who came to our campaign in 1992 thinking the most
important thing he could do was to ride a bicycle across the country, asking
people to vote for the Vice President and me, wound up a trusted employee at the
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