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Remarks at the Tenth Anniversary Commemoration of the Bombings of U.S. Embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Dean Acheson Auditorium
Washington, DC
August 7, 2008

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SECRETARY RICE: Thank you, Assistant Secretary Frazer, for that kind introduction.  And I would also like to thank Under Secretary Kennedy, who helped us to put today’s events together.

I am honored to be with all of you to remember those we lost on this day 10 years ago in an unspeakable attack on our embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. I want to welcome both family members who lost loved ones and the survivors of that tragic day.  We are also grateful to have with us Ambassador Peter Ogego of Kenya and Chargé Joseph Sokoine of the Embassy of Tanzania.  We gather today to honor those who were killed and to offer our condolences to their families and their friends. 

It is fitting that today in Nairobi and in Dar es Salaam, Kenyans and Tanzanians, families and friends, are also gathering to commemorate the departed. In Nairobi, the blast that took the lives of 218 Kenyans and Americans, while thousands more were injured in the streets around the embassy. In Dar es Salaam, nine Tanzanians, one Kenyan and one Somali citizen were killed, and 85 people were wounded.

These were innocent people, stolen from us in a moment of terror. American families sent their sons and daughters proudly to represent the United States abroad. They should not have died as they did. For all of you – the families of the victims, the survivors of that day, and those of you whose lives were forever changed by the injuries you received – you all gave America more than was ever asked, and for your sacrifice, our nation is eternally grateful.

On that dark day ten years ago, the bombings of our Embassies seemed merely to be the senseless violence of evil men, an organization called al-Qaida. When seen from today, however, ten years later – after the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993, the attack on Khobar Towers in 1996, the attack on the US* Cole in 2000, and of course, the terror of September 11th – we now see those bombings of our embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in a new light. We see them as they were – as the opening of a new “twilight struggle” between hope and fear, peace and hatred, freedom and tyranny: a struggle that has now finally, fully been joined. 

And on that day, we saw in our response – from our diplomats and development workers, our soldiers and our citizens, our friends and our allies – what is best in humankind, and why we shared – why our shared values will prevail.

Today we recognize and celebrate the service of the many dedicated employees and their families from the Department of State, from USAID, from the Department of Defense, and from other agencies, who under the exceptional leadership of Ambassador Prudence Bushnell, who is with us today, and Chargé John Lange – who kept these Embassies functioning in the terrible aftermath of that bombing. Yet you tended to the wounded, notified family and friends, and kept everyone back home apprised of the situation. For your hard work and your sacrifice in the most difficult of times, the United States is forever in your debt.

Ten years ago al-Qaida may have destroyed two embassies, but they did not destroy the ties that bind the American, Kenyan, and Tanzanian people. They did not destroy our spirit. Indeed, their attacks only strengthened the ties between our nations.  Today, we remain partners with the people of Tanzania and Kenya. And I witnessed the spirit of that partnership when I visited both Kenya and Tanzania earlier this year. Secure new Embassies have now been built in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, reflecting the enduring strength of these relationships. Bombs and bullets and terror can never – and will never – break our bond.

I am told that as we were planning for this anniversary, the son of one of the victims approached our Ambassador in Kenya and shared some advice. He said, “I think this should be both a commemoration and a celebration ceremony – a commemoration of the suffering and the loss of life, but  a celebration of the fact that those who survived the attack and their families have not let this terrible tragedy dim the prospects for a brighter future.”

That view illustrates the unfailing resolve of America and our friends – the fact that even in the face of the greatest adversity, we remain confident, committed and unwavering, and that we will not cower to those who seek to do harm to our people and attack our ideals. Those who lost their lives ten years ago in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam paid the ultimate price protecting our people and supporting our values. We vow to always honor their sacrifice and to continue their good work.

Thank you. (Applause.)


Released on August 7, 2008

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