Ambassador John Carwile
Saturday, September 11, 2021, 15:32, Three Minutes
Foreign Minister Rinkēvičs, Defense Minister Pabriks, Mayor Staķis, and honored guests. On behalf of the United States of America, I would like to express our gratitude for your presence at this twentieth anniversary commemoration of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Twenty years ago on this day, almost 3,000 people from the United States and 90 other nations perished as a result of these heinous terrorist attacks. We gather here to remember their lives, to comfort the still-grieving families of these innocent victims, and to honor the heroic actions of police officers, firefighters, paramedics, and other first responders, many of whom gave their own lives to rescue others.
We are grateful to the people of Latvia who, 10 years ago, laid this marker in solemn memory of that tragic day. The marker is engraved with words from a poem written by Billy Collins, the U.S. Poet Laureate at the time of 9/11. These moving words helped us grieve then, and they help us remember now. The excerpt reads:
Names written in the pale sky.
Names rising in the updraft amid buildings.
Names silent in stone.
Or cried out behind a door.
Names blown over the earth and out to sea.
Our gathering this year is especially poignant as it is the first following the end of the war in Afghanistan. We will never forget the courageous soldiers who traveled so far and sacrificed so much to respond to the terrorist threat. Four Latvian soldiers gave their lives in this struggle, and we honor their bravery and sacrifice. We will never forget Latvia for standing with us in our time of need and joining the fight to preserve our liberty and way of life. Our alliance—our friendship— is unbreakable.