Steven C. Koutsis, Chargé d’Affaires, a.i.
U.S. Embassy Conakry
September 11, 2021
Twenty years ago today, our Nation was forever changed.
On September 11, 2001, the lives of 2,977 people were tragically lost during the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, The Department of Defense, and the crash of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The events of that fateful day devastated families and left enduring scars in communities in the United States and around the world. Today, we mourn their loss and reflect on the heroism and selflessness of first responders who bravely rushed towards danger, saving lives, and some giving their own. And we pause to offer our gratitude to those friends, family, and colleagues who have served, continue to serve, and honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice to protect us and our way of life.
We were again reminded of this sacrifice last month by the horrific ISIS-K bombing in Kabul. The 20 servicemembers who were wounded, and the 11 marines, one soldier, and one navy corpsman who gave their lives, did so not in a mission of war, but of mercy. Today, our thoughts are with these heroes’ families and those of the more than 170 Afghan civilians who died in the attack.
Please join me in a moment of silence to remember the lives lost during the attacks on 9/11, last month in Kabul, and over the past twenty years.
As we note this somber anniversary, we also mark the end of America’s longest war, one that began in the difficult days following the attacks on our homeland 20 years ago. Many within our Embassy community have served in Afghanistan, either in or out of uniform. Today, we honor your sacrifice, contributions, and commitment to protecting Americans and upholding our ideals. We are also grateful to our allies and partners around the world, who stand with us in our most difficult moments. Our commitment to them remains unwavering.
As the threat of terrorism evolves, our counterterrorism efforts will evolve with it. Building on the lessons of the last 20 years, we are employing a sustainable and agile approach to counterterrorism that uses the diverse range of tools in our toolkit to address the threat in a manner consistent with our values and our broader national security priorities.
As President Biden said in his Proclamation on the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance, “the seeds of chaos, planted that September by those who wished to harm us, have instead blossomed into fields of hope for a brighter future. A new generation of patriots — many of whom were just children on that bright September morning, some of whom had not yet been born — now serve in our Armed Forces, as law enforcement officers and firefighters, as paramedics, in the halls of our Federal buildings, and beyond, determined to build our country back better, safer, and more united.”
The memories of those lost during the attacks on 9/11 and afterward lives on.
We continue to honor their lives and sacrifice every day through our work. Thank you for joining me today, and for your continued service and dedication to our country.
(Remarks as delivered)