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Colin Powell Speaks

Aired September 11, 2003 - 08:38   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: The Secretary of State Colin Powell has been commemorating what's been going on over at the State Department as well. Let's listen to the secretary of state.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... worldwide family of freedom to remember the events of this day, and to honor the heroes and victims. I ask you now to join Secretary Powell as he leads us in the commemoration and reflection on this day.

Thank you.

COLIN POWELL, SECY. OF STATE: Thank you very much, Ruth.

And I'm so pleased to see such a good turnout here today. Before we begin our own commemoration, I would ask that in your thoughts and prayers today you keep in mind the Foreign Minister Anna Lindh of Sweden, who I worked very closely with and so many of you know, who was tragically killed yesterday, and may your thoughts and prayers be with the people of Sweden and with her family and with her children.

Today, aptly designated by Congress as "Patriot Day," the men and women of the Department of State join their fellow Americans and people across the globe who cherish freedom in commemorating the second anniversary of the September 11th attacks.

I have the honor to read to you the proclamation from the United States president. "Two years ago, more than 3,000 innocent people lost their lives when a calm, September morning was shattered by terrorists driven by hatred and destruction. On that day, and in its aftermath we saw the greatness of America in the bravery of victims and the heroism of first responders who lay down their lives to save others.

"In the compassionate people who stepped forward to help those they had never met, and in the generosity of millions of Americans who enriched our country with acts of service and kindness. Since that day we have seen the greatness of America further demonstrated in the courage of our brave men and women in uniform who have served and sacrificed in Afghanistan, and Iraq and around the world to advance freedom and prevent terrorist attacks on America.

"As we remember, September 11, 2001, we reaffirm the vows made in the earliest hours of our grief and anger. As liberty's home and defender, America will not tire, will not falter, and will not fail in fighting for the safety and security of the American people and a world free from terrorism.

We will continue to bring our enemies to justice, or bring justice to them. This Patriot Day, we hold steady to this task."

Signed, "George W. Bush."

Fellow members of our State Department family, together we honor the souls from 90 nations who perished at the Twin Towers in New York, at the Pentagon, and in a Pennsylvania field. They were men and women of every continent, culture and creed, of every region, race and religion. Our prayers are with the families and friends of the fallen. Our thoughts also are with the families and friends of all those around the world who have lost loved ones to terrorism, from Madrid to Moscow and Manila, from Bali to Baghdad and Bogota. From Karachi to Riyadh and Nairobi, from Jerusalem to Dar es Salaam and Amman.

So many, too many lands have been scarred by the truly global scourge of terrorism. On this day two years ago, our homeland and the world witnessed acts of unimaginable horror and unforgettable heroism, of unspeakable cruelty and uncommon compassion.

But we did not just react in grief and rage. Under President Bush's leadership, we took decisive action. Led by the United States, nations all around the globe have come together in an historic worldwide effort to wipe terrorism from the face of the Earth.

Faithful friends and former foes alike have united against terror, and we are bringing every tool of statecraft to bear against it -- military, intelligence, law enforcement, financial, and most certainly diplomatic.

President Bush and I are proud of the crucial contributions that the men and women of the Department of State are making each day to the global antiterror effort. You have helped to build an unprecedented international coalition against terror that has saved countless lives. Your work with counterparts and countries all over the world ensures that it is harder for terrorists to support their operations to move about, to find sanctuary, to communicate, to plot, and to acquire deadly new weapons. You can take great satisfaction in the fact the men and women of American diplomacy are helping the liberated peoples of Afghanistan and Iraq join the international community and build future...

BLITZER: So there we have the secretary of state of the United States Colin Powell remembering precisely what happened two years ago at the State Department. State Department diplomats, many of them on the front lines themselves right now in this war on terrorism.


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