THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE WILLIAM COHEN, AND SECRETARY OF STATE MADELEINE ALBRIGHT AT CEREMONY HONORING THE MEN AND WOMEN WHO LOST THEIR LIVES IN THE BOMBINGS OF THE EMBASSIES IN KENYA AND TANZANIA
Andrews Air Force Base Maryland
11:20 A.M. EDT
SECRETARY COHEN: Mr. President, Mrs. Clinton, Secretary Albright, members of Congress, General Shelton, members of the Joint Chiefs, Janet, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, and especially families and friends of those we honor today: This is a moment of profound sadness and grief -- for the families whose loved ones have been torn from their embrace; for the many friends and colleagues whose lives they have enriched; and for our nation whose cause they so courageously served.
Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. once spoke words that give us strength today. "Alas," he said, "we cannot live our dreams. We're lucky enough if we can give a sample of our best and if in our hearts we can feel it's been nobly done."
We borrow this moment to express our sorrow and gratitude both to the families who are gathered here and to these fallen heroes who lived their dreams, giving more than a sample of their best both as soldiers and diplomats. They endured hardship, and yet they served quietly and proudly. They knew the dangers of their profession, yet risked life and limb for us all. They lived with action and passion. They were the best that America has to offer. They were the better angels of our nature.
I consider the men and women in uniform to be ambassadors of goodwill as well as warriors, carrying our values and virtues wherever they're deployed. But today is an historic reminder that America's ambassadors and diplomats and their staffs are granted no exemption from danger while serving on the front lines of democracy. On behalf of America's Armed Forces, I want to recognize all who serve in our embassies, consulates, and compounds abroad. The freedoms that we cherish are stronger, our nation is more secure, because of who you are and what you do.
The 12 Americans and the 245 Kenyans and Tanzanians were taken from us in a violent moment by those who traffic in terror and rejoice in the agony of their victims. We pledge here today that neither time, nor distance can bend or break our resolve to bring to justice those who have committed these unspeakable acts of cowardice and horror. We will not rest. We will never retreat from this mission.
This tragedy has cost us precious lives and there's no expression of grief and no vow for justice that can lift the pain of this day, but we can never allow terrorists to diminish our determination to press on with the inspiring work of those who have been taken from us. Their sudden loss must only strengthen our sense of purpose. They did not serve and they did not sacrifice, they did not give their lives so that we could walk away from this new world that they were helping to build for others. We must ensure that the torch of freedom always burns brighter than the fires of hate; and that we continue to be an America worthy of the ultimate price that they have paid.
These sons and daughters of America were of a manner pure with lofty purpose. Six days ago they left us, lifted beyond this mortal veil, having given more than a sample of their best. Along with their families, we now bid them farewell, with reverence and respect, knowing in our hearts that their work was nobly done. May God continue to embrace our nation, and may He open up his arms to these heroes, there on high, where they shall dwell forever.
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Mr. President and Mrs. Clinton, Secretary Cohen, members of the Cabinet, General Shelton, and leaders of our Armed Forces, distinguished members of Congress, Excellencies from the Diplomatic Corps: On behalf of the State Department family, thank you all for being here to share our sorrow, determination, and pride.
Above all, I want to welcome the family members and friends of our fallen colleagues and loved ones. We will miss them and grieve for them. We're proud of these fine Americans. They were our best. Their memory and our love for them lives on.
We are mindful that the same explosions that caused their deaths killed many more Kenyans and Tanzanians, including at least 42 Foreign Service nationals, who worked with great dedication for the identical causes that we do. We are deeply saddened by this tragedy. We pray for all those who were murdered and for the speedy restoration to health of those who were injured. We pray that the burdens of grief will be tempered by the affection of so many who knew and worked with those who have been lost.
At the same time, we must act to prevent such outrages in the future. A plague of terror has claimed victims on every continent. The people of every continent must unite in defeating terror, and the world must understand what terror can and cannot do. Terror can turn life to death, laughter to tears, and shared hopes to sorrowful memories. It can turn a building to rubble. But it cannot change America's determination to lead or to strive with others to build a world where there is more hope and prosperity, freedom and peace.
Make no mistake, terror is the tool of cowards. It is not a form of political expression, and certainly not a manifestation of religious faith. It is murder -- plain and simple. And those who perpetrate it, finance it or otherwise support it, must be opposed by all people.
Rest assured, America will continue to be present around the world, wherever we have interests to defend, friends to support, and work to do. America will not be intimidated. We will maintain our commitment to the people of Africa. We will do all we can to protect our diplomatic and military people around the world. We will do everything possible to see that those responsible for last week's bombings are held accountable. America's memory is long; our reach is far; our resolve unwavering; and our commitment to justice unshatterable.
To the families, let me say I know that words are not enough. Love is the most wonderful gift in life, but at times like this also the most painful. The loss you have suffered is without measure. We're all diminished, for those we remember today reflected the strength and diversity of our country. They were the kind of unpretentious, but remarkable people who represent America in diplomatic outposts around the world -- people doing their job day in and day out, working for peace, strengthening democracy, healing the ill, helping those in need, winning friends for America. Above all, they were builders, doers, good people who acted out of hope and with the conviction that what will be can be made better than what has been.
This has been a mission of pride and sorrow. I am honored to bring them home to America.
It is beyond our power to turn the clock back to before last Friday. We cannot alter the past; we cannot bring back the ones we love. But we can choose what they chose, to be animated not by fear, but by hope; to define ourselves not by what we are against, but by what we are for; to acknowledge the presence of evil in this world, but never lose sight of the good; to endure terrible blows, but never give in to those who would have us give up or turn away from our responsibilities, or abandon or principles, or surrender our faith.
By so doing, we can ensure that the perpetrators of the bombings will be foiled in whatever purpose they may have had, and that America will continue to stand tall and straight and strong in the world.
May our fallen colleagues and loved ones be forever honored, for we will never cease to be proud of them. May they rest in peace, for we will never forget them. And may their deaths inspire us to be fully worthy of freedom, which we hold in solemn and sacred trust for our generation and generations yet to come.
Thank you, and God Bless you all.
THE PRESIDENT: To the members of the families here, Secretary Albright, Secretary Cohen, members of the Cabinet, members of Congress, leaders of the Armed Forces, members of the Diplomatic Corps, friends, and we say a special appreciation to the representatives here from Kenya and Tanzania.
Every person here today would pray not to be here. But we could not be anywhere else, for we have come to honor 12 proud sons and daughters who perished half a world away, but never left America behind; who carried with them the love of their families, the respect of their countrymen, and above all, the ideals for which America stands. They perished in the service of the country for which they gave so much in life.
To their families and friends, the rest of your fellow Americans have learned a little bit about your loved ones in the past few days. Of course, we will never know them as you did or remember them as you will -- as a new baby; a proud graduate; a beaming bride or groom; a reassuring voice on the phone from across the ocean; a tired but happy traveler at an airport, bags stuffed with gifts, arms outstretched. Nothing can bring them back, but nothing can erase the lives they led, the difference they made, the joy they brought.
We can only hope that even in grief you can take pride and solace in the gratitude all the rest of us have for the service they gave.
The men and women who serve in our embassies all around this world do hard work that is not always fully appreciated and not even understood by many of their fellow Americans. They protect our interests and promote our values abroad. They are diplomats and doctors and drivers, bookkeepers and technicians and military guards. Far from home, they endure hardships, often at great risk.
These 12 Americans came from diverse backgrounds. If you see their pictures, you know they are a portrait of America today and of America's tomorrow. But as different as they were, each of them had an adventurous spirit, a generous soul. Each relished the chance to see the world and to make it better.
They were a senior diplomat I had the honor to meet twice, and his son, who proudly worked alongside him this summer; a budget officer; a wife and mother who had just spent her vacation caring for her aged parents; a State Department worker who looked forward to being back home with her new grandson; a Foreign Service officer born in India, who became an American citizen and traveled the world with her family for her new country; a Marine Sergeant, the son of very proud parents; an Air Force Sergeant who followed in her own father's footsteps; an epidemiologist, who loved her own children and worked to save Africa's children from disease and death; an embassy administrator, who married a Kenyan and stayed in close touch with her children back in America; a Foreign Service officer and mother of three children, including a baby girl; a Foreign Service member who was an extraordinarily accomplished jazz musician and devoted husband; an Army Sergeant, a veteran of the Gulf War, a husband, a father, who told his own father that if anything ever happened to him, he wanted his ashes scattered in the Pacific off Big Sur because that was where he had met his beloved wife.
What one classmate said to me of his friend today we can say of all of them: They were what America is all about.
We also remember today the Kenyans and Tanzanians who have suffered great loss. We are grateful for your loved ones who worked alongside us in our embassies. And we are grateful for your extraordinary efforts and great pain in the wake of this tragedy. We pray for the speedy recovery of all the injured, Americans and Africans alike.
No matter what it takes, we must find those responsible for these evil acts and see that justice is done. There may be more hard road ahead, for terrorists target America because we act and stand for peace and democracy; because the spirit of our country is the very spirit of freedom. It is the burden of our history and the bright hope of the world's future.
We must honor the memory of those we mourn today by pressing the cause of freedom and justice for which they lived. We must continue to stand strong for freedom on every continent. America will not retreat from the world and all its promise, nor shrink from our responsibility to stand against terror and with the friends of freedom everywhere. We owe it to those we honor today.
As it is written: "Their righteous deeds have not been forgotten. Their glory will not be blotted out. Their bodies were buried in peace, but their names shall live forever."
Sergeant Jesse Nathan Aliganga.
Julian Bartley, Sr.
Julian Bartley, Jr.
Molly Huckaby Hardy.
Sergeant Kenneth Hobson.
Prabhi Guptara Kavaler.
Dr. Mary Louise Martin.
Ann Michelle O'Connor.
Senior Master Sergeant Sherry Lynn Olds.
Uttamlal "Tom" Shah.
May they find peace in the warm embrace of God, and may God give peace to those who love them, and bless their beloved country.
END 11:36 A.M. EDT