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DCI Remarks at the Funeral of Johnny Micheal Spann

Remarks by the Director of Central Intelligence George J. Tenet
Funeral of Johnny Micheal Spann Arlington National Cemetery

December 10, 2001

Here today, in American soil, we lay to lasting rest an American hero. United in loss and in sorrow, we are united, as well, in our reverence for the timeless virtues upon which Mike Spann shaped his life—virtues for which he ultimately gave his life.


Dignity. Decency. Bravery. Liberty.

From his earliest days, Mike not only knew what was right, he worked to do what was right. At home and school in Alabama. As a United States Marine. As an officer of the Central Intelligence Agency. And as the head of his own, young family.

And it was in the quest for right that Mike at his country’s call went to Afghanistan. To that place of danger and terror, he sought to bring justice and freedom. And to our nation—which he held so close to his heart—he sought to bring a still greater measure of strength and security.

For Mike understood that it is not enough simply to dream of a better, safer world. He understood that it has to be built—with passion and dedication, in the face of obstacles, in the face of evil.

Those who took him from us will be neither deeply mourned nor long remembered. But Mike Spann will be forever part of the treasured legacy of free peoples everywhere—as we each owe him an immense, unpayable debt of honor and gratitude.

His example is our inspiration. His sacrifice is our strength.

For the men and women of the Central Intelligence Agency, he remains the rigorous and resolute colleague. The professional who took great pride in his difficult and demanding work. The patriot who knew that information saves lives, and that its collection is a risk worth taking.

May God bless Mike Spann—an American of courage— and may God bless those who love and miss him, and all who carry on the noble work that he began.

Note: "Micheal" is spelled correctly.

Historical Document
Posted: Apr 03, 2007 08:58 PM
Last Updated: Jun 20, 2008 08:23 AM