Fifth Anniversary of 9/11 Terrorist Attack
International Remembrance Ceremony of the Fifth Anniversary of 9/11 Terrorist Attack
Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Benjamin Franklin Room
September 11, 2006
SECRETARY RICE: Good morning. Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the State Department and thank you for joining us today as we honor the victims of the September 11th attacks. Let me first say what a great privilege it is that former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher could be with us this morning. It is my high honor, Lady Thatcher, that you join us. I want to thank you not just for your service and for your friendship for the United States of America, but I want to thank you for being an inspiration to so many, including to me personally, because you have always been willing to stand for what is right. Thank you for joining us.
Five years ago on this very day, evil swept into America's skies and onto American soil. In a violent instant, thousands of innocent souls were stolen from us. America was suddenly so vulnerable and our entire nation was left to mourn. Joining us today are families and friends who lost loved ones on that day. Their lives have been forever changed, but today we want them to know that in their grief the entire nation, indeed the entire world, continues to stand united with them.
Among the many innocent victims of September 11th were hundreds of citizens from over 90 countries. The flags of those countries are located behind me today to represent our shared grief. And I know that there are members of the diplomatic corps who represent those countries, are joining us this morning, including members of the diplomatic corps from very many nations whose citizens lost their lives on that day.
The attacks of September 11th were the worst assault on the American homeland in our country's history, but they were more than that. They were an attack on the universal ideals of peace and liberty and human rights that civilized nations like ours embody and strive to uphold. The September 11th attacks were not only an attack on our people, but also on the noblest aspirations of all people.
Indeed the entire world grieved together with us. In cities and towns across the world we saw an outpouring of compassion and solidarity. Governments called and pledged their support. Their citizens gathered supplies and sent relief to those in need and where American travelers were stranded far from home, people across the globe embraced them as good neighbors and offered comfort and a kind word.
The world recognized that these attacks were vicious and unfounded crimes against humanity itself. The attackers' reign of terror knows no boundaries, neither of territory nor of morality. This battle is not directed at one country or at one religion or at one race, but against us all. Indeed, over the past five years we have seen horrific scenes of people being killed, innocent people, in places like Spain and Great Britain and Egypt and Indonesia and Turkey and Iraq and in Russia. The attacks only reinforce the clear lesson of September 11th: The fight against terrorism is global and in order to prevail together, we must unite together and we must fight together.
And most importantly, we must summon a vision of hope for a world where all people have the freedom to live in peace, to speak as they choose, to worship as they wish and to educate their children, their boys and their girls.
Each of the lives lost on September 11th had meaning. Each of the lives had a history. Each of the lives had an expectation of a future. And they had loved ones, two of whom join us today and will come to the podium in just a few minutes as we stand in unison with all the countries who lost lives on this day five years ago.
Rui Zheng lost her parents aboard American Airlines flight 77 to Los Angeles. The couple was headed back to China after an extended visit here in the United States with their daughter. And Floura Chowhury lost her cousins, a couple who had been married a year and were both working at the World Trade Center.
Together, they represent the many lives from so many parts of the world that were cut short on that day. It is our duty and our obligation that they will not be forgotten. It is also our duty and our obligation to try and make certain that such terror does not happen again.
MS. ZHENG: Antigua and Barbuda.
MS. CHOWHURY: Japan.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Trinidad and Tobago.
The countries of the former Yugoslavia.
SECRETARY RICE: If you will now stand and join me in a moment of silence for the fallen.
(A moment of silence is observed.)
Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. This concludes our ceremony.
2006/807 Released on September 11, 2006