Five years ago, evil swept into America’s skies and
onto American soil, said Secretary of State Condoleezza
Rice at a ceremony at the U.S. Department of State on September
11, and the victims of the 2001 attacks in the United States
by al-Qaida terrorists included people from around the world.
“In a violent instant, thousands of
innocent souls were stolen from us,” Rice said.
Vice President Dick Cheney and Lynne Cheney stand with former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of Great Britain for a moment of silence on the South Lawn September 11, 2006, to honor people from more than 90 countries who lost their lives in the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and
in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
The attacks of September 11, 2001, were
the worst assault on American land in the country’s
history and also attacked the universal ideals of peace, liberty
and human rights, Rice said. More than 90 countries lost citizens
in the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and
in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where a hijacked jet crashed
into a field.
The State Department ceremony in Washington
offered Rice, the diplomatic corps, State Department officials
and foreign dignitaries, including former British Prime
Minister Margaret Thatcher, the opportunity to reflect on
the human losses experienced by the survivors of all nationalities.
Rui Zheng, whose parents were passengers on the American
Airlines flight that crashed into the Pentagon, and Floura
Chowdhury, whose cousins Nurul Miah and Shakila Yasmin were
killed as they worked in the World Trade Center, read the
names of the countries that lost citizens in the attacks.
In all, nearly 3,000 people were killed,
including 60 police officers and 343 firefighters who responded
to the scene in New York City.
During the morning rush hour on September
11, 2001, al-Qaida terrorists under the leadership of Osama
bin Laden, who is still at-large, hijacked four passenger
jets and flew them into the twin towers of the World Trade
Center, the Pentagon, and into a field in Pennsylvania.
United Airlines flight 11, en route from Boston to Los Angeles,
crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center with
92 people aboard; American Airlines flight 77, from Washington
to Los Angeles crashed into the Pentagon with 64 people
aboard; United Airlines flight 175, from Boston to Los Angeles
with 65 people aboard, was the second hijacked plane to
strike the World Trade Center, plowing into the south tower;
and United Airlines flight 93, from Newark, New Jersey,
to San Francisco crashed in rural Shanksville, Pennsylvania,
with 45 people aboard.
REMEMBRANCE AT THE PENTAGON
Marking the fifth anniversary of 9/11 at
the Pentagon, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Peter
Pace led families and dignitaries in remembering the 184
people who died at the Pentagon. “We hope in some
way that this remembrance today and the ceremonies like
it all over our country will tell you that we are with you;
we will never forget.” (See related
Now five years later, Pace said the number
of U.S. military personnel who have died prosecuting the
war against terrorism is approaching the number of people
who were murdered, not only at the Pentagon, but also in
New York and Pennsylvania.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld cited
terror attacks elsewhere in the world. “Today we remember
all of those who lost their lives, not only on September
11th,” he said, “but in the struggle we have
faced against extremists now for more than two decades:
the 241 Marines killed in Beirut [Lebanon]; the sailors
on the USS Cole; the airline passengers flying over Lockerbie,
Scotland; subway riders in Madrid [Spain] and London; the
children going to school in Beslan, Russia.”
Rumsfeld said many of the terrorists who have not been killed
or captured are on the run. “They have lost their
sanctuary in Afghanistan,” he said, as well as the
support of captured Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, who had
been paying $25,000 to the families of successful suicide
bombers. But the remaining terrorists still try daily “to
convince us to doubt our prospects, to distrust one another
and to believe that the battle against them cannot be won
or is not worth the costs,” the secretary said.
The greatest tribute that can be paid to
those who went to work at the Pentagon September 11, 2001,
and never went home again as well as to the 1.3 million
Americans who have served in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Persian
Gulf, said Rumsfeld, is to do “everything possible
to fight the extremists wherever they are.” (See related
Vice President Cheney, who joined Rumsfeld
and Pace in paying tribute to lives lost, said September
11 “is a day of national unity.”
When the government shifted to a war footing
five years ago, the U.S. mission was clear, Cheney said:
“To defend America against a present danger and to
offer a democracy and hope as the alternative to extremism
and terror.” (See related
FROM THE UNITED NATIONS
In New York City, U.N. Secretary-General
Kofi Annan called on U.N. member states to honor the 9/11
victims and victims of terrorism everywhere by taking swift
action to implement all aspects of the Global Counter-Terrorism
Strategy, which was adopted by the U.N. General Assembly
on September 8.
“In this way,” Annan said, “they
will demonstrate the international community’s unwavering
determination to defeat terrorism.” The global terrorism
strategy underlines the resolve of all governments to address
the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, prevent
and combat terrorism in all its forms, and strengthen the
individual and collective capacity of states and the United
Nations to do so – while ensuring the protection of
human rights, Annan said.
The September 11 attacks “cut us all
to the core, for they were an attack on humanity itself,”
All 191 members of the United Nations agreed
at a World Summit in New York in 2005 on a condemnation
of terrorism. (See related article.)
“The fight against terrorism is a
fight for values and principles that are universal,”
said Warren W. Tichenor, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations
and other international organizations in Geneva, Switzerland,
in a ceremony there. “Much more unites us as citizens
of the world than divides us. All major religions teach
that life is precious, and that taking innocent life, including
your own, is wrong,” Tichenor said after leading a
moment of silence observed at 2:46 p.m. local time (8:46
a.m. Eastern Time), the hour at which American Airlines
flight 11 struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center.
The fifth anniversary of 9/11 is a reminder
of the shared challenge faced by an international community
confronting terrorism, he said. “It has brought tragedy
and terrible grief to innocent people across the world,
from Indonesia to Morocco, Spain, Jordan, England, India
and Egypt. Terrorists have shown no mercy for human life
regardless of race, ethnicity or religion.”
text of Rumsfeld’s prepared remarks is available
on the Defense Department’s Web site.
text of Annan’s prepared remarks is available
on the U.N. Web site, and the full
text of Tichenor’s statement is available on the
U.S. Mission to the U.N. in Geneva Web site.
Washington File Staff Writer
Following is a transcript of Rice’s
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
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