Press Releases

    12 September 2002


    NEW YORK, 11 September (UN Headquarters) -- Following are the remarks of Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the commemoration of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States at Headquarters on 11 September:

    A year has passed since the terrorist attacks on the United States. A year has passed -- and yet time cannot separate us from the horror of that day, from our shock, our grief, our compassion for the children, the spouses, and the friends and families of those who perished. We still feel the shock.

    On September 11th, grief enveloped the world -- not only out of solidarity with the people of the United States, but out of shared loss. More than 90 nations lost sons and daughters of their own -- murdered that day, for no other reason than they had chosen to live in this country. Today, we come together as a world community because we were attacked as a world community.

    There have been and will be other occasions to explore the causes of the attacks -- and explored they must be. There will be other occasions to debate our response to the attacks -- and debated it must be. There will be other occasions to consider how best to maintain the global unity of that day -- and considered it must be.

    But today is a day of remembrance, remembrance and respect, a day for respect. A day to recall the loss of those who died trying to escape the fire, and the sacrifice of those who died rushing in to save lives. A day to recall the lives of citizens from every part of the world who met danger and death without warning, without cause, and without a chance. A day to recall the spirit of unity that seized the world that day -- from New York to Tehran to Berlin to Beijing -- in the face of unimaginable horror.

    United Nations Headquarters is often perceived as an enclave in New York City, somehow isolated from the rest. Let our presence here today demonstrate beyond doubt that this perception is false. We at the United Nations are, in the deepest sense of the word, a part of this community. We are neighbours to all New Yorkers, both as individuals and as an institution.

    There could be no greater affront to the spirit and purpose of the United Nations than the terrorist attacks of 11 September. Everything that we work for -- peace, development, health, freedom -- is damaged by this horror. Everything that we believe in -- respect for human life, justice, tolerance, pluralism and democracy -- is threatened by it. It must be defeated -- and it must be defeated by a world acting as one.

    May the memory of those who perished on September 11th serve to inspire a better, more just, more peaceful world for all of us.

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