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Washington Metro Memorial Service, Washington, DC
Deborah A. P. Hersman
Washington Metro Memorial Service, Washington, DC

Thank you, Mayor Gray, for your leadership in bringing the community together to honor the victims, survivors and first responders.

To the family members and friends of those who lost their lives, as well as to those who were injured, I know that for each of you the healing process is unique and personal. And it is a process that, in many ways, will continue for the rest of your lives.

Three years ago, I was among the NTSB personnel who responded to the crash and that began our year-long investigation into WMATA's operations and processes. We learned a lot about the organization — about its problems and its prospects.

After our investigation, we issued more than 30 recommendations including 19 targeted safety improvements at WMATA — all to make Metro safer, protect passengers and employees and to prevent future tragedies.

In the last two years action has been taken: WMATA has a new general manager and a number of new Board Members who have made it clear that safety is a priority and that it begins with their leadership.

As it should.

To date, WMATA has fully implemented three of our recommendations and is making progress on all of the others. We will continue to follow up on each one of those recommendations.

WMATA operates the nation's second-largest heavy rail transit system — carrying more than one million passengers every day.

That is one million reasons to stay focused on safety. To always be vigilant.

The people here know that better than anyone.

While it's been three years, I know losses continue to be felt.

Helen Keller said, "The world is full of suffering, it is also full of overcoming it."

So, today, it's important to remember what occurred here three years ago so it won't happen again, but more than that, we remember those who are memorialized here today — how much they were loved and how much they brought to the world.

Thank you, for inviting me to be with you today.