Remarks by Chargé d’Affaires Demian Smith: 9/11 commemoration ceremony

September 10, 2021

Faleminderit të gjithëve që erdhët në ceremoninë e sotme.

Dua t’iu uroj mirëseardhjen Ministrit të Mbrojtjes Peleshi, Zëvendësministres për Evropën dhe Punët e Jashtme Fino dhe shefit të shtabit Gjeneral Majorit Begaj.

Faleminderit që jeni me ne në këtë ditë të rëndësishme.

Friends, colleagues, Minister Peleshi, Deputy Minister Fino, and Major General Begaj

Please join me for a moment of silence as our Marine Guards lower the flag to half-mast to honor the victims of September 11, 2001.

Today we remember that horrible day 20 years ago.  We remember the brutal acts of brutal murder and terrorism in New York City, in Washington D.C., and in the air over Pennsylvania.

We remember our fear, our rage, our horror.

We remember the victims.  2,977 men, women and children killed, more than 6,000 injured.  Families broken forever, and futures lost.  The victims were all of us.  90 countries lost citizens that day.  We remember Mon Gjonbalaj, Roko Camaj, and Simon Dedvukaj, three victims who called Albania their homeland.

We remember our friends, our relatives, our co-workers who lost and suffered from the events of that day. We remember those whose lives were forever changed.

We also remember the heroes.

We remember the first responders and emergency personnel who ran into the World Trade Center and Pentagon as they burned, often their last heroic act.

We remember fellow citizen helping each other.  Carrying those who could not walk to safety.  Opening their cars and homes to strangers who needed help.  We remember lines of blood donors and volunteers doing whatever they could to help.

We remember the passengers of Flight 93 who seized a moment to protect others, even if it meant their own lives.

We remember our allies and friends around the world, including Albania, that stood with us against terror and evil.  We remember our NATO Allies, of which now Albania is a proud member, invoking its charter in our name.

We remember those who fought and served in Afghanistan, working towards justice for the 9/11 acts of terror and the promise of a better future for Afghans.  We remember the soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, diplomats, aid workers, and other citizens who answered the call of duty, and too many who gave their lives in service to that cause.  Americans and Albanians served in Afghanistan, Iraq, shoulder to shoulder, another legacy of our shared alliance.

We remember many members of this community, past and present, who volunteered to serve in Afghanistan and other dangerous places. Thank you for your service and sacrifice.

We remember. We will never forget.

Ne e mbajmë mend dhe nuk do ta harrojmë kurrë.

I would now like to invite Minister Peleshi to speak on behalf of the Government of Albania.