Current and former heads-of-state, members of the diplomatic corps, friends and family members gathered January 14 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC to attend a memorial service honoring Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke. Delivering remarks at the service, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said:
"...I feel his absence keenly, and I know so many people here do as well. This is a loss personally and it is a loss for our country. We face huge tasks ahead of us, and it would be better if Richard were here, driving us all crazy about what we needed to be doing.
"He had, as we've heard from others, secured his place in history. I am confident that the work he had done and was doing in Afghanistan and Pakistan will also stand the test of time. And I greatly appreciate President Zardari coming all the way to be with us today. He was, as Mike Mullen said, passionate about restoring the balance between our military and civilian operations; he was determined to bring that balance back through sheer force of will if necessary.
"Shortly after Richard was named to be the Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, I decided that I needed to bring Richard and General Petraeus together, so I invited them both over to our home here in Washington. And I set up two chairs with a third, and I just watched them interact. Those are two men with a lot of energy. I was exhausted by the time they had finished going through everything that they were thinking and what needed to be done in the years ahead. And as they were leaving, they both said, 'Let's do this again tomorrow night.'
"But Richard got results. The High Peace Council that he helped launch in Afghanistan is working and just sent a delegation to Pakistan. His work on water, energy, agriculture, and trade is paying off in significant improvements to people's lives. He had a vision where we needed to be going, and despite all the challenges, which he knew very well, he remained optimistic and positive about what we could do together.
"Richard did this work with the help of a phenomenal team that he assembled with great gusto and pride over the past two years. They represent some of the best minds and biggest talents from inside and outside government. And many of them are here today, so let me say to Richard's team: You meant the world to Richard. And all of us at the State Department are proud of your work.
"He also created an international contact group with now more than 40 countries represented and increasing numbers of Muslim majority countries as part of that international contact group. I met with some of them who traveled so far to come here for this celebration of Richard's life. And you, too, meant a great deal to Richard because he saw that we must have a political solution and that we must work to build regional and international support.
"Many of Richard's staffers are young. But then, he was young when he started, and he wanted to give young people a chance to learn and serve and work on behalf of the country that he felt such a commitment to.
"There are few people in any time, but certainly in our time, who can say, I stopped a war. I made peace. I saved lives. I helped countries heal. Richard Holbrooke did these things. He believed that great men and women could change history. And he did. He wanted to be a great man so he could change history. He was, and he did.
"His time with us ended far too soon. And yet he lived enough for 10 lives. So while we mourn, we have reason for joy -- joy for the life that Richard lived, joy that we were able to be part of it -- that we went along for the ride.
"And his partners in that endeavor were his family: his sons David and Anthony and their families, Lizzie and Chris, his grandchildren, and most of all Kati, a friend to us all and someone who understood and loved Richard so well. The family they built together cast light on so many people.
"There is a book of early Jewish wisdom, the Book of Ben Sira, which includes this passage: 'With three things I am delighted, for they are pleasing to the Lord and to men: harmony among brethren, friendship among neighbors, and the mutual love of husband and wife.' With his life and legacy, Richard Holbrooke was three for three. God bless you, my friend."
You can read Secretary Clinton's full remarks here.