THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
|For Immediate Release|| ||August 13, 1998|
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
Andrews Air Force Base
11:20 A.M. EDT
SECRETARY COHEN: Mr. President, Mrs. Clinton, SecretaryAlbright, members of Congress, General Shelton, members of the JointChiefs, Janet, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, andespecially families and friends of those we honor today: This is amoment of profound sadness and grief -- for the families whose lovedones have been torn from their embrace; for the many friends andcolleagues whose lives they have enriched; and for our nation whosecause they so courageously served.
Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. once spoke words thatgive 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 ourhearts we can feel it's been nobly done."
We borrow this moment to express our sorrow andgratitude both to the families who are gathered here and to thesefallen heroes who lived their dreams, giving more than a sample oftheir best both as soldiers and diplomats. They endured hardship,and yet they served quietly and proudly. They knew the dangers oftheir profession, yet risked life and limb for us all. They livedwith action and passion. They were the best that America has tooffer. They were the better angels of our nature.
I consider the men and women in uniform to beambassadors of goodwill as well as warriors, carrying our values andvirtues wherever they're deployed. But today is an historic reminderthat America's ambassadors and diplomats and their staffs are grantedno exemption from danger while serving on the front lines ofdemocracy. On behalf of America's Armed Forces, I want to recognizeall 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 weretaken from us in a violent moment by those who traffic in terror andrejoice in the agony of their victims. We pledge here today thatneither time, nor distance can bend or break our resolve to bring tojustice those who have committed these unspeakable acts of cowardiceand horror. We will not rest. We will never retreat from thismission.
This tragedy has cost us precious lives and there's noexpression of grief and no vow for justice that can lift the pain ofthis day, but we can never allow terrorists to diminish ourdetermination to press on with the inspiring work of those who havebeen taken from us. Their sudden loss must only strengthen our senseof 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 worldthat they were helping to build for others. We must ensure that thetorch of freedom always burns brighter than the fires of hate; andthat we continue to be an America worthy of the ultimate price thatthey have paid.
These sons and daughters of America were of a mannerpure with lofty purpose. Six days ago they left us, lifted beyondthis mortal veil, having given more than a sample of their best.Along with their families, we now bid them farewell, with reverenceand respect, knowing in our hearts that their work was nobly done.May God continue to embrace our nation, and may He open up his armsto 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 leadersof our Armed Forces, distinguished members of Congress, Excellenciesfrom the Diplomatic Corps: On behalf of the State Department family,thank you all for being here to share our sorrow, determination, andpride.
Above all, I want to welcome the family members andfriends of our fallen colleagues and loved ones. We will miss themand grieve for them. We're proud of these fine Americans. They wereour best. Their memory and our love for them lives on.
We are mindful that the same explosions that causedtheir deaths killed many more Kenyans and Tanzanians, including atleast 42 Foreign Service nationals, who worked with great dedicationfor the identical causes that we do. We are deeply saddened by thistragedy. We pray for all those who were murdered and for the speedyrestoration to health of those who were injured. We pray that theburdens of grief will be tempered by the affection of so many whoknew and worked with those who have been lost.
At the same time, we must act to prevent such outragesin the future. A plague of terror has claimed victims on everycontinent. The people of every continent must unite in defeatingterror, and the world must understand what terror can and cannot do.Terror can turn life to death, laughter to tears, and shared hopes tosorrowful memories. It can turn a building to rubble. But it cannotchange America's determination to lead or to strive with others tobuild a world where there is more hope and prosperity, freedom andpeace.
Make no mistake, terror is the tool of cowards. It isnot a form of political expression, and certainly not a manifestationof religious faith. It is murder -- plain and simple. And those whoperpetrate it, finance it or otherwise support it, must be opposed byall people.
Rest assured, America will continue to be present aroundthe world, wherever we have interests to defend, friends to support,and work to do. America will not be intimidated. We will maintainour commitment to the people of Africa. We will do all we can toprotect our diplomatic and military people around the world. We willdo everything possible to see that those responsible for last week'sbombings are held accountable. America's memory is long; our reachis far; our resolve unwavering; and our commitment to justiceunshatterable.
To the families, let me say I know that words are notenough. Love is the most wonderful gift in life, but at times likethis also the most painful. The loss you have suffered is withoutmeasure. We're all diminished, for those we remember today reflectedthe strength and diversity of our country. They were the kind ofunpretentious, but remarkable people who represent America indiplomatic outposts around the world -- people doing their job day inand day out, working for peace, strengthening democracy, healing theill, helping those in need, winning friends for America. Above all,they were builders, doers, good people who acted out of hope and withthe conviction that what will be can be made better than what hasbeen.
This has been a mission of pride and sorrow. I amhonored to bring them home to America.
It is beyond our power to turn the clock back to beforelast Friday. We cannot alter the past; we cannot bring back the oneswe love. But we can choose what they chose, to be animated not byfear, 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 thisworld, 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 awayfrom our responsibilities, or abandon or principles, or surrender ourfaith.
By so doing, we can ensure that the perpetrators of thebombings will be foiled in whatever purpose they may have had, andthat America will continue to stand tall and straight and strong inthe world.
May our fallen colleagues and loved ones be foreverhonored, for we will never cease to be proud of them. May they restin peace, for we will never forget them. And may their deathsinspire us to be fully worthy of freedom, which we hold in solemn andsacred 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, membersof Congress, leaders of the Armed Forces, members of the DiplomaticCorps, friends, and we say a special appreciation to therepresentatives here from Kenya and Tanzania.
Every person here today would pray not to be here. Butwe could not be anywhere else, for we have come to honor 12 proudsons and daughters who perished half a world away, but never leftAmerica behind; who carried with them the love of their families, therespect of their countrymen, and above all, the ideals for whichAmerica stands. They perished in the service of the country forwhich they gave so much in life.
To their families and friends, the rest of your fellowAmericans have learned a little bit about your loved ones in the pastfew days. Of course, we will never know them as you did or rememberthem as you will -- as a new baby; a proud graduate; a beaming brideor groom; a reassuring voice on the phone from across the ocean; atired but happy traveler at an airport, bags stuffed with gifts, armsoutstretched. Nothing can bring them back, but nothing can erase thelives they led, the difference they made, the joy they brought.
We can only hope that even in grief you can take prideand solace in the gratitude all the rest of us have for the servicethey gave.
The men and women who serve in our embassies all aroundthis world do hard work that is not always fully appreciated and noteven understood by many of their fellow Americans. They protect ourinterests and promote our values abroad. They are diplomats anddoctors 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. Ifyou see their pictures, you know they are a portrait of America todayand of America's tomorrow. But as different as they were, each ofthem had an adventurous spirit, a generous soul. Each relished thechance to see the world and to make it better.
They were a senior diplomat I had the honor to meettwice, and his son, who proudly worked alongside him this summer; abudget officer; a wife and mother who had just spent her vacationcaring for her aged parents; a State Department worker who lookedforward to being back home with her new grandson; a Foreign Serviceofficer born in India, who became an American citizen and traveledthe world with her family for her new country; a Marine Sergeant, theson of very proud parents; an Air Force Sergeant who followed in herown father's footsteps; an epidemiologist, who loved her own childrenand worked to save Africa's children from disease and death; anembassy administrator, who married a Kenyan and stayed in close touchwith her children back in America; a Foreign Service officer andmother of three children, including a baby girl; a Foreign Servicemember who was an extraordinarily accomplished jazz musician anddevoted husband; an Army Sergeant, a veteran of the Gulf War, ahusband, a father, who told is own father that if anything everhappened to him, he wanted his ashes scattered in the Pacific off BigSur because that was where he had met his beloved wife.
What one classmate said to me of his friend today we cansay of all of them: They were what America is all about.
We also remember today the Kenyans and Tanzanians whohave suffered great loss. We are grateful for your loved ones whoworked alongside us in our embassies. And we are grateful for yourextraordinary efforts and great pain in the wake of this tragedy. Wepray for the speedy recovery of all the injured, Americans andAfricans alike.
No matter what it takes, we must find those responsiblefor these evil acts and see that justice is done. There may be morehard road ahead, for terrorists target America because we act andstand for peace and democracy; because the spirit of our country isthe very spirit of freedom. It is the burden of our history and thebright hope of the world's future.
We must honor the memory of those we mourn today bypressing the cause of freedom and justice for which they lived. Wemust continue to stand strong for freedom on every continent.America will not retreat from the world and all its promise, norshrink from our responsibility to stand against terror and with thefriends of freedom everywhere. We owe it to those we honor today.
As it is written: "Their righteous deeds have not beenforgotten. Their glory will not be blotted out. Their bodies wereburied 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 mayGod give peace to those who love them, and bless their belovedcountry.