In an emotional moment that drew the largest applause of the night, President Trump paid tribute Tuesday to the widow of U.S. Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens, who was killed in a counterterrorism raid in Yemen last month.
“Our veterans have delivered for this nation—and now we must deliver for them,” Trump said in his address to a joint session of Congress as he introduced Carryn Owens, who elicited an extended standing ovation from the entire chamber.
“Ryan died as he lived: a warrior, and a hero – battling against terrorism and securing our nation,” Trump said.
Owens' widow could be seen sobbing as the chamber applauded.
William "Ryan" Owens, a 36-year-old father of three, was the only U.S. victim in the Jan. 27 raid on a suspected Al Qaeda compound. At least 16 civilians and 14 militants were killed in the operation, which the Pentagon said was aimed at capturing information on potential Al Qaeda attacks against the U.S. and its allies.
Trump said he met with Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, and quoted him as saying, “Ryan was a part of a highly successful raid that generated large amounts of vital intelligence that will lead to many more victories in the future against our enemies.”
Last week, Owens’ father, Bill Owens, a retired Fort Lauderdale police detective and veteran, demanded an investigation into the planning of the raid, and slammed Trump for the timing of the operation.
Trump said that Owens’ legacy is “etched into eternity.”
"Ryan is looking down right now and he is very happy because I think he just broke a record," Trump said as lawmakers and guests gave a prolonged standing ovation.
"For as the Bible teaches us, there is no greater act of love than to lay down one's life for one's friends -- Ryan laid down his life for his friends, for his country and for our freedom-- we will never forget Ryan."