Secretary of State John Kerry began his remembrance on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks by lauding the victims of another 9/11 — the attack on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi in 2012.
“Four years have passed since the death in Libya of Ambassador Chris Stevens, Glen Doherty, Sean Smith, and Tyrone Woods — dedicated professionals who sought only to serve our country and to help friends in a strife-torn land to live in security and peace,” Kerry said in a statement issued by the State Department.
“The men and women of the U.S. Department of State join with our fellow citizens and with people across the globe, in remembering those who died on those two tragic days and in rededicating ourselves to a world where justice prevails over evil and civility wins out over bigotry and hate,” he added.
Kerry, who was a senator from Massachusetts at the time, remembered Sept. 11, 2001, as “a time when we came together as one, with flags unfurled in every community, strangers greeting strangers as friends, comforting loved ones, vowing – even as we grieved – not to rest until those who had harmed our nation and its people were held accountable.”
“It was the worst day we had ever witnessed, but it brought out the best in us all,” he said.
The secretary stressed that “Americans were not the only ones who fell victim,” as “the citizens of more than sixty countries perished in the strikes on the World Trade Center.”
“That astonishing toll reflects both the inter-connected nature of modern society and the need to persist in our comprehensive and united response to the global threat posed by violent extremist groups,” he continued. “Over the past decade and a half, the United States has led that response. With partners on every continent, we are helping to defeat terrorists by targeting their leadership, shrinking their territory, choking their finances, disrupting their networks, and discrediting their lies.”
Kerry said “we will neither be intimidated by terrorists, nor draw back from the business of the world, nor retreat from our democratic values.”
“Instead, we have grown even more vigilant, even more resolved, and even more determined to protect our people, assist our friends, and defend civilization from those who would tear it down,” he said.
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), chairman of the House special committee investigating Benghazi, noted while recognizing the 15th anniversary of 9/11 today that “in 2012, we experienced this evil once again when four Americans were killed in a terrorist attack while serving our country in Benghazi, Libya.”
“Thank you to our men and women in uniform who fiercely protected our freedom fifteen years ago, four years ago and have continued to do so every single day in between. Their love for and dedication to our nation serve as an inspiration to each and every one of us,” Gowdy said.
“The single best thing we can do to fight and ultimately overcome those who desire to tear our nation apart is to rally behind our love for our country and unite our great nation as one.”