French Ambassador Pays Tribute to the Victims of 9/11
Message from Ambassador Gérard Araud
Washington, DC, September 10, 2014
Thirteen years have passed since close to 3,000 lives were lost on September 11, 2001, in one of the most horrific terrorist attacks to ever take place. Today, I want to honor their memories and reaffirm France’s solidarity with our American friends. On the tragic day of the attacks, France watched with fear and anger what was happening on the other side of the Atlantic and felt in its heart the pain of the American people. The Star-Spangled Banner was played at a ceremony in the courtyard of the Elysée Palace in Paris. It was the first time ever that a foreign national anthem was heard there. Since then, we have witnessed the strength and courage of the United States, which recovered in the face of great tragedy, even though the American people and the citizens of the world will never forget.
Having lived and worked in New York City for the past five years, as France’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, I have been struck by the resilience of New Yorkers. Today, their city symbolizes the American recovery as hundreds of thousands of visitors are consistently amazed by the bustling streets, breathtaking skyscrapers, and cultural richness that make New York a city unlike any other and that will continue to draw people from France and all over the world.
Yet, while the ashes have finally cleared, the memory of those who lost their lives remain. New Yorkers have not forgotten that One World Trade Center stands where the Twin Towers once fell. And among the visitors, many come to remember the victims of the September 11 attacks by visiting the museum and memorial erected at the site of Ground Zero. France itself has installed a commemorative plaque in our Consulate General in New York to remember the names of the five French citizens who were killed on September 11.
These attacks were not only directed against the United States, but rather against the values that French, Americans – as well as so many people all over the world - share and that have been the basis of our constitutions and democracies for the last 200 years. These are the values that we have always been ready to defend, as we did together in Afghanistan, in Libya and in Mali over the past 13 years, and as we are prepared to continue doing tomorrow against those who challenge them. Terrorism is more than ever a threat, and France will always stand tall with the United States against it, fighting not to forget the lives that were lost on September 11.
(C) The New York Times - The Tribute in Light, a 9/11 memorial, on Wednesday night.