Remarks at the 9/11 Commemoration

Remarks by Ambassador Colleen Bell

at the 9/11 Commemoration

September 11, 2016


Minister Pintér, Chief Advisor Bakondi, Deputy Chief of National Police, Major General János Balogh, Disaster Management Director General Dr. Tibor Tollár, Ambulance Services Director General Gábor Máté, Fifth District Fire Fighter Commander Captain Gábor Jurás-Pálinkás, Fifth District Police Commander, Colonel Iván Berár and our honored guest, retired New York City Fire Chief Dan Daly, welcome.

Fifteen years ago today at this very hour in New York City, American Airlines flight 11 crashed into Tower 1 of the World Trade Center.  By the end of that day 2,996 people from more than 90 countries lost their lives in an act of unspeakable violence.

Ambassador Bell with distinguished guests at the commemoration (Embassy photo by Attila Németh)
Ambassador Bell with distinguished guests at the commemoration (Embassy photo by Attila Németh)

For me, and for many Americans and people around the world, 9/11 will always be a day that represents humanity at its worst, and humanity at its best; a day when many people experienced senseless violence and tragic, unspeakable loss, but when all of us witnessed the heroism, the generosity, and the compassion that represents the utmost of human good.

By coming together to honor those who lost and who gave their lives 15 years ago, we renew our strength to move forward in the face of both old and new challenges, and we come together to invigorate the values that have defined our country and our people; values we share with the people of Hungary.

I will always carry with me the images and the emotions of that day of what came to be called “Ground Zero,” but I will also try to focus even more on the firefighters, the police, the rescue workers, and all the first responders from wherever they came, who responded fearlessly to danger on that awful day.  I will remember forever the images of heroes running into burning and collapsing buildings to save the lives of others, of those who climbed the stairs of the towers to help others escape.  Sixty law enforcement officers, 343 firefighters, and eight paramedics and EMTs made the ultimate sacrifice.

It is those heroes we remember and honor today.  First responders truly represent the best of humanity, and it is their example that must continue to inspire us all.  I especially want to honor the police, firefighters, ambulance crews, and other first responders here today and around the world. Thank you for your service and thank you all for joining us.