At an emotional ceremony yesterday at the Commerce Department, President Clinton paid tribute to former Commerce Secretary Ron Brown and other department officials who were killed a year ago in a plane crash while on a trade mission to Croatia.
"When Ron Brown became Secretary of Commerce, he revolutionized the role of the Commerce Department in our lives, going from rhetoric to reality," said Clinton. "And every person, public and private citizen alike who was a part of that should feel proud of what happened. He made our passion for trade a force not only in our economic life, but in our foreign policy."
Clinton also extolled the "patriotism and service" of other federal officials killed in the crash. "I miss seeing the smiles of those young people that worked here at the Commerce Department who believed in this country and were totally unjaded by the cynical veneer that grips too many people," he said.
The Commerce Department, Clinton noted, has set up a scholarship fund for the children of department officials killed in the crash.
Several hundred friends and family members of crash victims attended the ceremony.