Dec 06 2002

SEN. SHELBY STATEMENT ON ANNIVERSARY OF DEATH OF MIKE SPANN

I am honored to join with all Alabamians in saluting Mike Spann, a patriot who loved God, his family and his country. America met Mike through the terrible news of his tragic death just over one year ago. Otherwise, because of the nature of Mike's work, most Americans would never have known that Mike and others like him were risking their lives for us. On behalf of a grateful nation I offer my deep appreciation to the Spann family, especially his children, his wife, mother and his father.

Today, America is a safer place because a man of honor and integrity was willing to fight for our freedom. Mike's fight was also part of the battle of the people of Afghanistan against tyranny, oppression and terror. His battle against the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Northern Afghanistan directly contributed to their defeat. Mike gave his life in a noble undertaking, and while we mourn his loss, we also celebrate his life for the blessing he was to his family and his country.

While I did not know Mike Spann personally, I have come to know his great character through the countless testimonies of his friends, colleagues, and his family. During this holiday season, I know his family will find strength in the fact that his life exemplified the best qualities of the human spirit: honor, service, and sacrifice.

I am told, when Mike joined the CIA he told his father, "Someone has got to do the things no one else wants to do." America would not be America without men and women like Mike who are willing to place themselves in harm's way to protect our freedom. By every measure, Mike was a great patriot.

To Mike's wife, Shannon, his daughters Alison and Emily, and to his young son, Jake, please accept my high regards and great thanks for bearing the sacrifice involved in everyday life over the past year and for the years to come. As we mourn Mike's death and celebrate his life; a grateful nation vows to never forget. Thank you.