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A TRIBUTE IN LIGHT
The Embassy Commemorates 9/11 Tragedy

September 13, 2004

Ambassador Martin J. Silverstein's message:

9/11/2001: JUST YESTERDAY

Three years ago today, the world witnessed an unprecedented attack on the civilized world. The attacks of 9/11 shocked men and women throughout the world and ended the lives of citizens from over 90 countries. Memory of these events fuels America’s continuing efforts to defend Americans and our allies by stripping terrorist organizations of their ability to operate and to attract new recruits.

The images of that day remain etched in the minds of all who saw them. To many Americans, 9/11 still seems like yesterday. On that day, al-Qaida’s hijack crews stole the future from nearly 3000 innocent people from all around the world and devastated the lives of their families and friends. They murdered infants cradled in their mothers’ arms and grandparents flying to visit their loved ones. And now as plans move forward in Manhattan to build a memorial for the victims at Ground Zero, as well as a new office tower – 1776-feet tall, symbolic of the year of America’s independence – we honor the souls lost that day in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania. We pray for the families and loved ones still struggling with their loss and left with only memories.

And let there be no doubt, we gather strength from our memories of those who died that day – and remain vigilant against those who still seek to harm us and our friends around the world.

Americans are well aware that terrorism was not invented on September 11. Far too many countries around the world have endured tragic attacks for decades and even centuries. Even the region around Rio de la Plata is not safe from terrorism. We just need to remember the tragic attacks against AMIA and the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, where hundreds of innocent victims were killed.

Tempered by the tragedy of 9/11, America is determined to face these new threats, not ignore them or simply wait for future attacks. In the post-9/11 environment, the U.S. is working with its allies to reconfigure national and international security arrangements in order to prevail over terrorists as well as the states and organizations supporting them.

Our objective is a lasting, democratic peace in which nations can develop and prosper, free from the threat of terror. We are helping to build a hopeful future for people who have suffered for far too long. We will not allow troubled regions to remain mired in despair and violence.

Al-Qaida and its affiliates offer no constructive vision for the world. Their sole mission has been to destroy what others have built through hard work and commitment. Our common international efforts to defeat the terrorists, therefore, serve to provide the global security upon which free, peaceful nations can advance their social, cultural and economic development goals.

The United States and its missions worldwide are working daily to lay the foundation for peace by supporting the development of democracy. Uruguay has been an excellent partner in this fight against terror, not only with us but also with other neighbors in the region. Along with Uruguay, we support the hope and progress that democracy offers as the alternative to tyranny and terror. Quite simply, in democratic and successful societies, men and women do not adopt mass murder as a national policy; they turn their hearts and minds to building better lives for themselves and for their families through education and hard work. Democratic governments do not shelter terrorist camps or kill innocent men, women, and children. Rather, they raise their citizens up, expending their energies and resources on fostering the rule of law and seeking expanded opportunities for trade and other exchanges.

Americans pause with you today to remember the fallen from over 90 countries worldwide who died on September 11, 2001. We remember also their friends and relatives whose lives were changed forever. We replay in our minds the images of that horrific day, but we also embrace new images of hope. We remember the worldwide outpouring of sorrow and solidarity – in town plazas and at U.S. embassies – that were the seeds of the international campaign against terrorism launched in the wake of the attacks. We are committed to continuing to work with the international community toward the day when terrorists’ messages fall flat, when their wallets are empty, and when their recruits turn away to take advantage of opportunities made possible by those who would build, not destroy.

Last Thursday, together with President Jorge Batlle, once again we lit up two powerful beams of light symbolizing the twin towers. These lights are our homage to all those who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks, including Uruguayan citizen Alberto Domínguez, another innocent victim, whose relatives shared the ceremony with us.

Without any doubt, the best message we can give is the one that is writen on a sign in front of our Embassy: "Para Recordar" (To Remember). No civilized person will be able to forget September 11, 2001.

 

LIGHTING OF THE TWIN BEAMS CEREMONY (9/9/2004)
 

Ambassador Silverstein's address (Delivered in Spanish only)
[ AUDIO ]

El 11 de setiembre es un día en que todos los pueblos amantes de la libertad deben unirse en su determinación de aplastar a los enemigos de la libertad.

Los rascacielos pueden ser derribados, pero los cimientos de la libertad no pueden ser debilitados.

Debemos reafirmar nuestra determinación de seguir adelante y defender lo que es bueno y justo en nuestro mundo.

Hemos derrotado a la tiranía antes y continuaremos nuestra lucha hasta hacerlo nuevamente.

Que los rostros de las víctimas inocentes de la semana pasada en Beslan, Rusia, y en Beersheva, Israel, y los dos haces de luz que estamos por encender nos recuerden que nuestra lucha continúa.

No debemos detenernos en nuestra labor. Solo mediante una acción fuerte, contundente y unificada podemos destruir a nuestro enemigo común.

Que pronto reine solo la paz en nuestros tiempos.

 
Uruguay President Jorge Batlle and External Affairs Minister Didier Opertti are received at the U.S. Embassy Montevideo by Ambassador Martin J. Silverstein and Mrs. Audrey Silverstein prior to the lighting of the twin beams ceremony. [U.S. Embassy photo by Vince Alongi]
President Jorge Batlle and External Affairs Minister Didier Opertti are received at the U.S. Embassy by Ambassador Silverstein and Mrs. Audrey Silverstein
U.S. Ambassador Martin J. Silverstein delivers his message during the 9/11 commemoration ceremony, September 9, 2004. [U.S. Embassy photo by Vince Alongi]
Ambassador Silverstein delivers a message prior to
the lighting ceremony

Uruguay President Jorge Batlle, Minister Didier Opertti and Mrs Reina Dominguez whose brother perished in the attacks of 9/11 activate the switches that light up the twin beams. [U.S. Embassy photo by Vince Alongi]
President Jorge Batlle, Minister Didier Opertti and Mrs Reina Dominguez whose brother perished in the attacks of 9/11 activate the light switches
Ambassador and Mrs. Martin J. Silverstein, Uruguay President Jorge Batlle, Minister Didier Opertti, Reina Dominguez and her husband, observing the twin beams rise up into the sky from the U.S. Embassy Montevideo, September 9, 2004. [U.S. Embassy photo by Vince Alongi]
Ambassador Silverstein and guests observe the twin beams of light rise up into the sky

The message "Para Recordar" ("To Remember") lights up next to the twin beams in commemoration of the 9/11 tragedy. [U.S. Embassy photo by Vince Alongi]
The message "Para Recordar" ("To Remember") lights up next to the twin beams

 

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