Remarks by AIT Director Douglas Paal on One Year Anniversary of the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks on the United States September 11, 2002
As we remember the tragic events of September 11, 2001, and the thousands of innocent lives lost on that day, we recall as well the outpouring of compassion and faith that swept our country in the face of the evil done that day.
In fact, compassion poured in, from all over the world. Here in Taiwan, we have been greatly heartened by the support shown by our friends in Taiwan both for the victims of the September 11 attacks and in the ongoing fight against terror. We are thankful for the sympathy expressed by the people on the street after the attacks, for the concerted efforts by groups and individuals to assist the victims, and by the cooperation extended by the various Taiwan authorities in the global fight against the scourge of terrorism.
To the many Taiwan individuals and NGOs who have given so much to the relief and rebuilding efforts in New York City, you have our deepest gratitude. While there are just too many names to mention here, I do want to particularly thank the Taiwan Red Cross and Tzu Chi Foundation for their generous assistance. Also, I'd like to thank the Taiwan Government for it's unswerving support in our efforts to combat terrorism, especially in acting promptly and thoroughly to protect its borders and close gaps in the banking system through which money funding terrorist acts could be funneled.
To the Americans present here tonight and to all those currently in Taiwan, please rest assured that we are dedicated and vigilant with regard to your safety, and will do all within our power to assure that Taiwan remains a safe and secure place.
Please allow me at this point to read a message for you and all of our international friends from the President of the United States, George W. Bush:
My country will always remember the outpouring of friendship and support from nations around the world in the wake of September the 11th. On behalf of all Americans, I thank the millions of people from every nation who share our grief over the loss of innocent life, and who share our resolve to lift the dark cloud of terror from our world.
Many nations and many families have lived in the shadow of terrorism for decades, and during years of mindless and merciless killing. September the 11th was not the beginning of global terror, but it was the beginning of the world's concerted response. History will remember that day not only as a day of tragedy, but as a day of decision, when the civilized world was stirred to anger and to action. And the terrorists will remember September the 11th as the day their reckoning began.
We face an enemy of ruthless ambition, unconstrained by law or morality. The terrorists who attacked on September the 11th despise other religions, and have defiled their own. And they are determined to expand the scale and scope of their murder. The terror that targeted New York and Washington one year ago could strike any center of civilization.
Against such an enemy, there is no immunity, and there can be no neutrality. A mighty coalition of civilized nations is now defending our common security. Terrorist assets have been frozen; terrorist front groups have been exposed. A terrorist regime has been toppled from power. Terrorist plots have been unraveled from Spain to Singapore. And thousands of terrorists have been brought to justice, or are in prison, or are running for fear of their lives.
In the current stage of our campaign, our coalition is not opposing a nation, but a network. Victory will come over time, as that network is patiently and steadily dismantled.
There's a great divide in our time -- not between religions or cultures, but between civilization and ruthless violence. People of all cultures wish to live in safety and dignity. The hope of justice and mercy and better lives are common to all humanity. Our enemies reject these values, and by doing so they set themselves not only against the United States, but against the entire world.
None of us would ever wish the evil that was done on September the 11th. Yet out of that great evil can come great good. I see a day when the threat of organized terror is broken. When that day comes, many old conflicts will appear in a new light. Without the constant fear and cycle of bitterness that terrorists spread with their violence, we will see then that old and serious disputes can be settled peacefully, within the bounds of reason, goodwill, and mutual security.
We have a chance to write a new and hopeful chapter in human history, a story of courage defeating cruelty and light overcoming darkness. This calling is worthy of any life, and of every nation. So let us go forward confident, determined, and unafraid. Together, we will face the peril of our moment, and we will seize the promise of our times.
May God bless freedom-loving people everywhere. (End message)
In conclusion, I want to once again thank our friends in Taiwan for all your help during this trying period, and for your cooperation during the ongoing fight against terror and violence. Let all of us here tonight renew our commitment to protect our cherished freedoms and build a better future for our children. And let us never forget September 11, 2001.