Home News Speeches Honoring the Life of Special Agent Barry Bush
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  • Robert S. Mueller, III
  • Director
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Memorial Service for Special Agent Barry Lee Bush
  • Pottstown, Pennsylvania
  • April 12, 2007

We come together today with heavy hearts to remember and to honor Special Agent Barry Bush.

Days like today are among the hardest we face. It is always difficult to find meaning in tragedy. And it is sometimes more difficult to find words to do justice to a man who meant so much to our country, to the FBI, and to his family.

But in Barry’s case, there has been no shortage of words. While I was not fortunate enough to know Barry personally, I have come to know him through the vivid descriptions of his family, his friends, and his co-workers.

Being an FBI agent is calling, but it is also a profession. And Barry was the consummate professional. For almost 20 years he was on the street, right in the middle of the action. He was a model of everything the badge should represent. In losing him, we have truly lost one of the FBI’s finest agents.

His colleagues respected him as a dogged investigator. He was meticulous about his work, and his coworkers sharpened their own skills under his leadership. A fellow agent in Newark put it best: “Barry made every agent who worked with him a better agent.”

As the head of Newark’s Evidence Response Team, he was called to major crime scenes across the country and the globe. He was among the best at piecing together the crime, gathering evidence, and building a strong case.

And his skills stretched beyond investigations. He was often called to testify in major trials. As one friend put it, “There was no one else a prosecutor would rather have on the witness stand.”

But for Barry, it was all part of the job. Whether he was in New Jersey or Nairobi, he would not rest until every last detail had been accounted for. Every time he was given the ball, he carried it across the goal line. On rare occasions, he would get frustrated with the pace of investigations. On these occasions, unsuspecting trash cans would suffer the consequences.

But that’s only because Barry loved being part of the action. He loved being in the field—so much so that he was known to do his paperwork in his car.

Barry was not doing this job for the glory. In the past several years, he did outstanding work as a member of the Special Operations Group. Much of it was behind the scenes, and Barry was just as content to be there as long as he was making a good case.

One friend recalled a time they conducted a surveillance in a damp, rat-infested building—night after night, for months on end. His colleagues were not thrilled about it at first, but they remember the assignment fondly because of Barry. He endured it cheerfully, cracking jokes and passing the time by telling stories about his wife and his children.

Barry loved his job. But he had two loves in his life. One was the Bureau. The other love—his first love— was his family. He talked about them constantly. They were his pride and joy. No matter how much he loved his work, he loved coming home at the end of the day even more.

Barry’s death reminds us that the men and women of law enforcement put their lives on the line every day. Each morning when they pick up their badges, they know there is a possibility they might not make it home that night. And that is where heroism lies: Recognizing the risk, and choosing to accept it so that others don’t have to.

Inside every FBI field office is a wall of honor that bears the names of agents who have been killed in the line of duty. Their names remind us that our safety is purchased at a dear price.

In time, we will add Barry’s name to that wall. And when we look up and see it, we will remember him as a dedicated professional and a devoted husband. We will remember him as a loving father and a loyal friend. We will remember him as a committed public servant and a courageous man, who gave his life doing what he loved most.

Barry was an unforgettable part of the FBI family. Karen, Jennifer, and Steven, we know he was even more than that to you. He is irreplaceable.

We stand with you in your grief, and in your pride in Barry.

The poet William Wordsworth once wrote:

“Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind...”

Today, we do grieve. Today, we wish we could bring Barry back—back to his squad, back to his dinner table, back to his family and friends.

But though our hearts ache, may we find strength in what remains. May we find inspiration in the example of a life well-lived. May we find solace in the memory of a true friend, a cherished husband, and a beloved father.

And as we lay him to rest and entrust his soul to God, may we find comfort in the words of Christ: “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

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