The following is an excerpt from remarks delivered by Eastern District U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch on receipt of the Federal Bar Council's Emory Buckner Medal for Outstanding Public Service, at the Nov. 21 luncheon at the Waldorf Astoria.
...I [read] about Emory Bucknerhis life and times, his family, his cases, and what led him to focus on the importance of public service and the values he brought to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
I was curious to find the connections between him and me, the common thread, if you will. I found what you would think, and much more.
If you were to outline what you would think were the greatest similarities between Emory Buckner and myself, you would probably start with the fact that we have both served as U.S. attorneys in New York City. You might focus on the fact that we both stressed training, professionalism, and real responsibility for young lawyers in our offices. Some might note that he served as U.S. attorney in the Southern District for two years, and my initial tenure in Brooklyn was also two years. All of that would be true, yet I found a deeper connection than that.
You might be puzzled by that statement. What else could connect a daughter of the South to the Midwestern lawyer?
I learned, however, that he and I are actually not as distant as that. In fact, both of us have our roots in North Carolina. Buckner's family lived there during the 19th century, actually living for a time on a farm west of Raleigh until the mid-1830'S. I grew up in Durham, not on a farm but with those roots, also a little ways west of Raleigh.
I learned, however, of an even deeper connection, which made me understand him even more and which, despite the differences in our life and times, would make him know me as well.
Emory Buckner and I are both the children of preachers, and the grandchildren of preachers, and the siblings of preachers.
Buckner's brother was the third generation of preachers in his family, while my brother is the fifth generation in ours.
Buckner's grandfather, who moved from North Carolina to Missouri as a young man, was primarily a farmer but served as a lay preacher during camp meetings. My grandfather was a minister and a sharecropper in rural North Carolina. Like all good preachers, both were dirt poor.