Jim Hall Remarks at NTSB Academy Opening
(Thank dignitaries, Secretary Mineta, members of Congress, assembled guests, fellow colleagues)
A little less than four years ago, I stood here as we marked the groundbreaking of the Academy. Now, the dream so many of us had is a reality. We stand here today to mark the opening of the NTSB Academy.
It is a proud day for me and for so many others who worked to create a place where investigators learn from yesterday's mistakes in order to prevent tomorrow's tragedies. The technology and expertise assembled here will benefit society for years to come, through safer homes, businesses and vehicles.
The NTSB has been and will continue to be the best source for independent, unbiased, and professional accident investigations. Investigations which will help prevent future tragedies. Investigations which will save lives.
We have attained this level of excellence only because of the quality of the people who make up the NTSB. I worked long, hard hours with many of you. I know your dedication to your jobs. I know your dedication to the business of safety. And I know your dedication to finding the truth.
We all share that basic need to know. What happened? What went wrong? And how can we prevent it from happening again? This new academy will help us answer those questions. It will help us continue to push forward the frontiers of accident investigation and prevention.
If you know me, you know I'm fond of quoting Thomas Jefferson. He once said, "The care of human life and happiness is the first and only legitimate object of good government."
The care of human life and happiness has been and will continue to be the goal of the dedicated professionals who make up the NTSB.
This building houses something more than the NTSB Academy. It houses the wreckage of TWA Flight 800. It houses the memory of the lives cut short by that tragedy and the families so cruelly shattered.
Let those memories serve as motivation to all who enter. Let them motivate you to always take one more step, run one more test, ask one more question, in the hopes that, next time, it will be different.
We cannot prevent every accident. But we can try.
We cannot solve every problem. But we should try.
We cannot save every life. But we must try.
I know you will try every day. And I know if anyone can do it, it is you.
Thank you all for your work, for your dedication, and for your commitment to keeping us safe.
Friday, October 22, 2004