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Remarks by Ambassador Coats at Commemorative Event by the Checkpoint Charlie Stiftung "Danke Berlin"


Remarks by Ambassador Coats at Commemorative Event by the Checkpoint Charlie Stiftung "Danke Berlin"

September 11, 2002

As prepared for delivery

Today is a day of remembrance and mourning -- in New York and Washington and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania -- and in cities and towns around America, and the world.

In America, friends and neighbors come together on the streets and squares -- in remembrance of those who died on September 11.

Just as we come together here in Berlin, friends and neighbors, fellow Berliners - in remembrance of that terrible day.

A year ago today, America experienced a defining moment.

In the aftermath of September 11, the people of Berlin displayed in countless ways -- through prayers and gestures, words and initiatives -- heartfelt support for the victims of the terrorist attacks. On behalf of the American people, please allow me to thank you for that outpouring of moral and material support.

Last May, when President Bush visited Berlin, he crossed the line that traces where the Berlin Wall passed the Brandenburg Gate.

The same Brandenburg Gate where years before President Reagan challenged the Soviet Union to put an end to the division of Europe.

The same Brandenburg Gate where I stood, a year ago, just days after September 11, to convey to 200,000 Berliners the grateful appreciation of the people of the United States for the compassion and support of German citizens from all walks of life.

And now -- one year later.

In the United States, the physical scars are with each passing day less noticeable but our wounds as a people are not yet healed.

We are reminded of the images of that fateful day -- the unimaginable collapse of the twin towers, the shock and horror on the faces of the survivors, the grim determination of the rescue workers, the painful, fading hope written on the faces of loved ones holding pictures of family and friends.

And we pause in remembrance of those who died as a result of these senseless and evil acts of terror.

The dream of America, a society open and free, a dream that brought millions of emigrants from the Old World to the New, was challenged on September 11, 2001. The vivid images of that day, the faces of tragedy and bravery, have inspired, in President Bush's words, "a deeper appreciation of the things that matter most in our lives -- our faith, our love for family and friends, and our freedom." The outpouring of friendship and support from nations around the world in the wake of that sad and terrible day was a recognition that these are the values that matter not just to Americans, but to people everywhere. Today, one year later, America and its friends and allies stand committed to defend the right of all people to,live free from the terror that seeks to destroy these basic human rights.

In the same spirit with which we fought the tyranny and evils of the past, we must now resolve to address the challenges of today.

That is the challenge for us all, a challenge we should, and must, undertake.

Thank you again.