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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 12, 2002
Remarks by the President at United States Reception
The World Financial Center
New York, New York
8:55 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all very much. Please be seated. Laura and I appreciate you all coming. It's an honor to be with you tonight. I want to apologize for the photo line taking so long -- I'm the person to blame. I talked too much. But thank you for coming. I appreciate so very much all the Presidents who are here, and the Prime Ministers who are here, and the Foreign Ministers who are here, the Ambassadors to U.N. who are here. I want to thank my citizens from our country who are here.
I appreciate John Negroponte, the Ambassador to the United Nations. (Applause.) I want to thank the members of the United States Congress who are here -- I see one, two, three, four, five -- they're everywhere. (Applause.) These guy know a good free meal when they see one. (Laughter.)
I especially want to say a word of phrase to Kofi Annan, who is the Secretary General of the United Nations, for his -- (applause) -- for his strong leadership and his good heart and his decency. I enjoy working with him a lot. He's a class act, as we say in the state of Texas. And I know you all agree with me in that.
We gather tonight here in a place -- right next to a place of great tragedy and great sorrow. And we also gather in a garden of great hope and renewal. From this room we can view the empty space where these magnificent towers once stood, and remember those who perished one year and one day ago. And in this room we see and feel the common commitment of our nations to build a better world, to work hard to see to it that good can overcome evil.
Ever since it opened in 1988, the Winter Garden has been one of New York's most beautiful public spaces, a place where people gathered to hear music and view art against the backdrop of one of the world's greatest skylines. September the 11th, in just a few moments that skyline was a scene of fire and murder. This atrium was filled with steel and glass. And history turned a page. Scores of nations lost citizens that day. And in the 366 days since, scores of nations have committed themselves to confronting and combating the threat of global terror.
Our nations have enjoyed -- have employed the powers of law enforcement, of diplomacy, military force, and financial controls to bring justice -- not to seek revenge, but to seek justice -- and to prevent further attacks. Much has been accomplished, and it's important to remember much remains to be done.
On behalf of the people of the United States, on behalf of the good people of this land, I want to thank every nation that has joined us in this great global struggle.
The terrible losses of September the 11th are close to our thoughts tonight. But so are the common hopes of our nations for a better world, a world beyond terror. And again, this room is a powerful symbol of these hopes. In one short remarkable year, the Winter Garden has been reborn. The speed and success of this rebuilding effort is a testament to the optimism and determination of the people of New York, and the people of the world. More than one million pounds of marble for this building was quarried in Italy and Spain. As one quarry official stated, "We didn't consider this a job, it was a duty."
Now the world is called to urgent duties. We're called upon to reaffirm great founding purposes of the United Nations -- universal standards of human dignity, and a global system of peace and security. We're called to confront great challenges to these ideals, from poverty and disease to terror and the aggression of tyrants.
By our determination, by our faith, by cooperation, we can and we will meet these tests. And by our efforts, we will lift the lives of people on every continent.
Thank you all for coming tonight. May God bless your countries, and may God bring peace to the world. (Applause.)
END 8:58 P.M. EDT
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