Honoring Those Lost in Attacks in Libya

U.S. Department of State - DipNote Blog

On September 14, 2012, President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered remarks at the Transfer of Remains Ceremony to honor those lost in attacks in Benghazi, Libya. Secretary Clinton began her remarks by saying, “…Today we bring home four Americans who gave their lives for our country and our values. To the families of our fallen colleagues, I offer our most heartfelt condolences and deepest gratitude.”

President Obama remembered the four men, and said:

“Glen Doherty never shied from adventure. He believed that, in his life, he could make a difference — a calling he fulfilled as a Navy SEAL. He served with distinction in Iraq and worked in Afghanistan. And there, in Benghazi, as he tended to others, he laid down his life, loyal as always, protecting his friends. Today, Glen is home.

“Tyrone Woods devoted 20 years of his life to the SEALs — the consummate ‘quiet professional.’ At the Salty Frog Bar, they might not have known, but ‘Rone’ also served in Iraq and Afghanistan. And there, in Benghazi, he was far from Dorothy and Tyrone Jr., Hunter and little Kai. And he laid down his life, as he would have for them, protecting his friends. And today, Rone is home.

“Sean Smith, it seems, lived to serve — first, in the Air Force, then, with you at the State Department. He knew the perils of this calling from his time in Baghdad. And there, in Benghazi, far from home, he surely thought of Heather and Samantha and Nathan. And he laid down his life in service to us all. Today, Sean is home.

“Chris Stevens was everything America could want in an ambassador, as the whole country has come to see — how he first went to the region as a young man in the Peace Corps, how during the revolution, he arrived in Libya on that cargo ship, how he believed in Libya and its people and how they loved him back. And there, in Benghazi, he laid down his life for his friends — Libyan and American — and for us all. Today, Chris is home.

“Four Americans, four patriots — they loved this country and they chose to serve it, and served it well. They had a mission and they believed in it. They knew the danger and they accepted it. They didn’t simply embrace the American ideal, they lived it. They embodied it — the courage, the hope and, yes, the idealism, that fundamental American belief that we can leave this world a little better than before. That’s who they were and that’s who we are. And if we want to truly honor their memory, that’s who we must always be.”

In her remarks, Secretary Clinton spoke of condolences received from the Middle East and North Africa and addressed events unfolding in the region. The Secretary said:

“…In the days since the attack, so many Libyans — including the Ambassador from Libya to the United States, who is with us today — have expressed their sorrow and solidarity. One young woman, her head covered and her eyes haunted with sadness, held up a handwritten sign that said ‘Thugs and killers don’t represent Benghazi nor Islam.’ The President of the Palestinian Authority, who worked closely with Chris when he served in Jerusalem, sent me a letter remembering his energy and integrity, and deploring — and I quote — ‘an act of ugly terror.’ Many others from across the Middle East and North Africa have offered similar sentiments.

“This has been a difficult week for the State Department and for our country. We’ve seen the heavy assault on our post in Benghazi that took the lives of those brave men. We’ve seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful internet video that we had nothing to do with. It is hard for the American people to make sense of that because it is senseless, and it is totally unacceptable.

“The people of Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and Tunisia did not trade the tyranny of a dictator for the tyranny of a mob. Reasonable people and responsible leaders in these countries need to do everything they can to restore security and hold accountable those behind these violent acts. And we will, under the President’s leadership, keep taking steps to protect our personnel around the world.

“There will be more difficult days ahead, but it is important that we don’t lose sight of the fundamental fact that America must keep leading the world. We owe it to those four men to continue the long, hard work of diplomacy.”

You can read President Obama’s full remarks here, and Secretary Clinton’s here.

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