Transcripts & Remarks
Remarks by Ambassador Cunningham on 9/11
September 11, 2012
Remarks by Ambassador James Cunningham
at the United States Embassy’s
Commemoration of the Eleventh Anniversary of the
September 11, 2001 Attacks
U.S. Embassy, Kabul, Afghanistan
September 11, 2012
Today, the eleventh anniversary of the September 11th attacks, we gather to honor the memory of the nearly 3,000 men, women, and children from the United States and more than 90 other countries who lost their lives in New York, at the Pentagon, and in Pennsylvania. We also honor those firefighters, police officers, and other first responders who rushed in to help as others rushed out. And we are here to honor the many sacrifices of our men and women, military and civilian, who have given so much since then in combating terror. We especially honor those who have given their lives in the service and defense of our country.
On September 11th, 2001, I was the Acting U.S. Representative to the United Nations in New York. And I watched the second plane go into the second tower on television from my office. On September 12th, after the Secretary General, Kofi Annan, had rightly reconvened both the Security Council and the General Assembly, despite the confusion and chaos in Manhattan, I told the assembled members of the United Nations, on behalf of the United States government, that 9/11 was not just an attack on the United States, but an attack on all who shared the values of freedom and peace and human decency. I told them that we would grieve and we would heal, and, echoing the words of the President, that the United States would pursue those who had committed these atrocities, and those who harbored them, and bring them to justice.
Attacked by those who wished to divide us, we came together as a nation and as a global community. The outpouring of international support and sorrow, and determination to respond, was stirring. We re-committed ourselves to the shared values upon which our global community rests. As Americans and leaders of an international coalition that was building, we came to Afghanistan eleven years ago and reopened this embassy as a sign of that commitment.
September 11th is marked as a National Day of Service and Remembrance, during which we commemorate the lives of those lost in the attacks by giving back and honoring our values as Americans. Here at this Embassy, our service is a commemoration every day. We remember why we are here. Together, Afghans and Americans, civilian and military, we work to promote freedom and security and prosperity in challenging and dangerous environments, because we know that Afghanistan’s success is the best way to ensure that another 9/11 does not come from Afghan soil.
The difficulties ahead should not be minimized. But we will not be deterred.
We have made significant progress toward defeating al-Qaida, transitioning security responsibility to Afghan forces, and denying extremists a safe-haven from which to threaten the United States.
We have committed, along with the international partners, to supporting Afghanistan throughout the coming “transformation decade.” Afghanistan is building its own future of a more sustainable, stable, and capable Afghanistan with institutions that will function, a future which will ensure that the proponents of terrorism and intolerance do not again prevail in this country.
The terrorists who perpetrated the attacks on America eleven years ago, and those who today are killing their fellow muslims, who shamefully even send children to kill children, those people aim to destroy. Our aim is to build. And we are building a partnership with Afghanistan that will endure far into the future. Let that be our tribute to those who are no longer with us. Thank you.