THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT IN CAIRN MEMORIAL DEDICATION IN HONOR OF PAN AM FLIGHT 103
Arlington National Cemetery
2:37 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Sir Hector, Jane Schultz, George Williams, Reverend Keegans, Reverend Miller, Reverend Neal, Rabbi Goldberg; to members of Congress and the administration, the diplomatic corps; to our honored friends from Scotland; most of all, to the members of the family of Pan Am 103. Thank you, Sir Hector, for your good words. And thank you and the Lockerbie Trust for this beautiful cairn which I accept on behalf of the people of the United States.
This simple monument speaks with a powerful voice. Each of its 270 Lockerbie stones tells of the loss beyond measure -- a child or a parent, a brother or a sister, stolen away through an act of unspeakable barbarism.
Almost seven years have now passed since that bomb cut short the lives of all 250 passengers of Pan Am 103 and the 11 villagers below. I know that I can speak for all the American people when I say that we have not forgotten and the families of the victims are still not alone in your sorrow.
Since Pan Am 103, there have been other attacks of terrorism on our own soil -- the bombing of the World Trade Center, the tragedy in Oklahoma City. After each, our nation has drawn closer, and some of the families here of the victims at Lockerbie have helped in that process. I thank all of you who reached out to those who were grieving most recently in Oklahoma City.
Despite the passage of time, nothing has dimmed our recollection of that day when death commanded the heavens. Nothing has diminished our outrage at that evil deed. Today the people of the United States understand terrorism better. We know it can strike anyone, anywhere. We know that each act of terrorism is a terrible assault on every person in the world who prizes freedom, on the values we share, on our nation and every nation that respects human rights.
Today, America is more determined than ever to stand against terrorism, to fight it, to bring terrorists to answer for their crimes. We continue to tighten those sanctions on states that sponsor terrorism, and we ask other nations to help us in that endeavor.
We are strengthening our ability to act at home and around the world. Recently, we have been successful in apprehending terrorists abroad and in preventing planned terrorist attacks here in the United States. We are redoubling our efforts against those who target our liberties and our lives. And just a few days ago in the United Nations, I asked the nations of the world to join me in common cause against terrorism.
In the case of Pan Am 103, we continue to press for the extradition of the two Libyan suspects. We want to maintain and tighten the enforcement of our sanctions, and we want to increase the pressure on Libya. This cairn reminds of that we must never, never relax our efforts until the criminals are brought to justice. (Applause.)
I thank those who have spoken before for their reference to this hallowed ground. It is fitting that this memorial to the citizens of 21 nations has been erected here in the sacred place of our nation, surrounded by so many who fell fighting for our freedom. It is fitting, too, that this cairn was chosen as the embodiment of our common concern, not only because of the strong bonds that have grown up between the people of Scotland and America out of this tragedy, but because this cairn was built stone by stone.
From the time of the Bible, men and women have piled stones to mark a covenant between them as the patriarch, Jacob, did with Laban. So let us take this cairn as the sign of our bond with the victims of Pan Am 103 to remember the life they brought into so many lives, to work to bring justice down on those who committed the murders, to keep our own people safe and to rid the world of terrorism, and never to forget until this job is done.
We must all labor for the day, my fellow Americans and citizens of the world, when, in the word of the Psalm, "we shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor for the arrow that flieth by day, nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness, nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday."
The days are now shortening, and December 21st approaches once again. I hope, to those of you who are members of the families that the honor done your loved ones here today brings you some solace. And I pray that when this anniversary day comes again you will have a measure of peace. Your countrymen and women are with you in spirit and in determination.
God bless you. God bless Scotland. And God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)