Text of Gov. Perry's Remarks Announcing Mansion Restoration
Today I get to say the six words I've wanted to say for a long time now: Welcome To The Texas Governor's Mansion!
Just about four years ago, I stood not too far from this spot and said we would rebuild this magnificent structure, so that future generations may gaze upon its beauty and appreciate its history.
Today, that day has arrived, and it's a great day for Texas.
By definition, governors are temporary residents of the Mansion, but it's hard not to become personally invested in this place when you're living among the mementoes of governors past, and constantly reminded you're merely following in the footsteps of the giants of Texas history.
I've spoken to many people who formed that kind of personal bond with the mansion after just a visit or two because this place has that sort of magic to it.
When fire broke out that early morning of June 8, 2008, the mansion's future was very much in doubt.
Among the renovations planned at the time was the installation of a sprinkler system, like it has now, but in 2008, that system wasn't in place yet, leaving nothing to beat down the growing flames.
All that prevented the mansion behind us from burning to its very foundation were the bravery and dedication of the members of the Austin Fire Department.
Three members who answered the call in the early hours of that morning are here with us today.
They probably won't brag on themselves, so I'll have to do it for them.
This was a very dangerous and difficult fire, and it took all the skill and coordination of more than 100 firefighters to save what was saved.
What they saved was a genuine Texas treasure, a building that was the site of historic moments, a building that was host to world leaders, and a building that was home to generations of governors' children and grandchildren.
Again, these firefighters are the reason we're standing in front of a fully restored governor's mansion, and not undertaking the creation of an entirely new one.
Most blessed of all, nobody was injured or killed fighting this blaze because buildings can be renovated or rebuilt, but a hero lost is lost forever.
On behalf of more than 24 million Texans, I'd like to thank the Austin Fire Department for everything they did.
Today is a great day, a day for looking back at the past and celebrating everything that this mansion stands for.
But it's also a day for looking forward.
It's a day of celebrating the brave firefighters who saved the mansion and the skilled and talented individuals who restored it for posterity.
It's a day for marking the 156 years that this structure has served at the heart of the State of Texas and looking ahead to the next 150 years nd more t'll be part of the Texas landscape.
Today, the Governor's Mansion stands renewed as a symbol of Texas' resiliency and our state's determination to work together to overcome the greatest of challenges.
As we look forward to a brighter future, we must never lose sight of where we're from.
Now, I'd like to introduce a woman who is a powerful voice for the preservation of our state's history, and who stands among the greatest First Ladies in our state's history, Anita Perry.
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