18th Anniversary of Attack on U.S. Embassy

Ambassador Godec honors the victims on the 18th anniversary of the August 7 attacks.

Remembering the Victims of the August 7th Embassy Attack

by U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Robert F. Godec

Good morning.

Welcome to our ceremony commemorating the 18th anniversary of the August 7th bombing.  Regardless of the years that pass, this is a very sad day.  It is always a solemn occasion.

They say that time heals all wounds.  But each year on August 7th it feels as if no time has passed at all.  For those of us at the Embassy then, the faces of those we lost are still clear.  We recall their hopes, their dreams, their kindnesses.  And all of us – whether here or not on that day 18 years ago — remember them.  We honor them.

And, we remember and honor their families.  Today, our hearts go out to those who lost family, friends and colleagues that day.  On behalf of the U.S. Government and the American people, you have our deepest sympathy.  And you have our admiration for the courage and strength you have shown throughout these many years.  Poleni kwa msiba.

Today reminds us, too, of the bravery, heroism, compassion, and sacrifice of that day.  So many of you acted to save lives and help others.  You did so at the risk of your own lives.  If not for the heroism on that day, there would be more names on this column; perhaps many more.  For me, August 7th was, and still is, more about the best that people can be, not the worst.

Unfortunately, today also reminds us that we must continue to be vigilant.  For the terrorist madness that killed so many on August 7th continues.  Far, far too many people have been killed or injured… in places all over the world.  But even as we work to end terrorism and as we mourn, we are reminded that we are held together by our common humanity.  We are bound to one another by ties of friendship and love.  We will not be torn apart by the terrorists who abandoned their humanity that day.  We will always put hope and generosity above death and despair.

Those who sought to divide us, failed.  Though their bomb took lives and destroyed a building, they did not break us.  For no bomb… no attack… can shake our commitment to working together to build bridges and a shared future.

And we do work together – hard.  Alongside our many partners, we feed school children.  We teach them to read.  We provide life-saving drugs to those in need.  We help farmers, and business people, and young people across the country build the world they want.  Not just a few.  Not thousands, but hundreds of thousands – millions of Kenyans whose lives are better today because of our work.  I am proud to say that the relationship between the Kenyan and American people has never been closer; the bond, never stronger.  And it is this Embassy… it is all of you… despite that terrible attack… that has made it so.

Today, we are united, Americans and Kenyans.  We are brought together by remembrance.  But on this somber day, when we pause to reflect on those who suffered or were killed, I ask that we also reflect on what binds us together: our shared values and our commitment to a better, brighter future for all of us.

Please join me in observing a minute of silence.