Bill Clinton photo

Remarks at a Memorial Service in Arlington, Virginia, for the American Diplomats Who Died in Bosnia-Herzegovina

August 23, 1995

My fellow Americans, distinguished members of the diplomatic corps; most importantly, to the family, the friends, the colleagues, the loved ones of Robert Frasure, Joseph Kruzel, and Nelson Drew: Today we gather to honor three peacemakers who gave their lives seeking for others the blessings we Americans hold dear and too often take for granted, the opportunity to work and to dream, to raise our children to live and to love in a land of peace.

When I named Robert Frasure Special Envoy to the Former Yugoslavia, a key United States representative in seeking solutions to modern diplomacy's most difficult challenge—ending the bloodshed and bringing peace in the Balkans—he had already made diplomacy the steady dedication of a lifetime. He earned, justifiably, a reputation as a man for all crises, and many, many people around this world from Ethiopia to Estonia have better lives because of his superb work.

Joseph Kruzel put his mind to the test of creating lasting security in a world that has known too much war. Besides his outstanding work in Bosnia, he led the Pentagon's efforts on critical issues of NATO enlargement and the re-integration of Eastern Europe into the West after the cold war. His service to our country spanned 28 years, from an Air Force officer in Vietnam to work on SALT I to being a major force in bringing the nations of Europe into the Partnership For Peace. The world is a more secure place because of his dedication.

Colonel Nelson Drew was a soldier, a scholar, a teacher, and a gentleman. He was trained to fight war. But in more than 20 years of service as an Air Force officer, he gave his heart and soul to the search for peace. He was largely responsible for investing the military and diplomatic initiatives of our Nation in Bosnia with a coherent design. And he was universally respected for his knowledge, his negotiating skills, his strategic thinking about the future of NATO and Europe after the cold war. The White House and the Nation are better for his service.

Bob, Joe, and Nelson each represented the finest qualities of American citizenship. For their service and their sacrifice in the cause of peace and freedom, it is my honor on this day to award them each the President's Citizens Medal.

Let me say to Katharina Frasure and Sarah and Virginia; to Gail Kruzel and John and Sarah; to Sandy Drew and Samantha and Philip; and to all your other family members here, the American people mourn your loss and share your grief. America is profoundly grateful for the work your husbands and fathers did to make the world a better place.

I hope you will always remember, along with the personal memories you shared with me just a few moments ago, the pride they took in their calling and the passion they brought to the search for peace. And I hope that always, always, you will be very proud.

They were extraordinary Americans who made reason their weapon, freedom their cause, and peace their goal. Bob, Joe, and Nelson were in Bosnia because they were moved by the terrible injustice and suffering there. And they were there because they believed it could and must be changed. The sorrow we feel here reminds us of the suffering Bob, Joe, and Nelson sought to ease there.

So as we praise these men—Robert Frasure, Joseph Kruzel, and Nelson Drew, quiet American heroes who gave their lives so that others might know a future of hope and a land at peace—let us resolve to carry on their struggle with the strength, determination, and caring they brought to their families, their work, and their very grateful Nation.

May God bless their memories and lift up their souls.

NOTE: The President spoke at 1:10 p.m. in Memorial Chapel at Fort Myer.

William J. Clinton, Remarks at a Memorial Service in Arlington, Virginia, for the American Diplomats Who Died in Bosnia-Herzegovina Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Filed Under




Simple Search of Our Archives