Public Statement by Ambassador Howard H. Baker, Jr. on Sept. 11

Sept. 11, 2003

Today we observe the second anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

We pause to remember the tragic loss of over 3000 innocent men, women, and children, from some 90 countries around the world, including Japan. We recall the heroic actions of rescue workers and ordinary citizens who that day gave the last full measure of devotion trying to help others. We share the still fresh grief of bereaved families and friends.

All of us at the Embassy in Tokyo were deeply moved by, and remain deeply grateful for, the outpouring of sympathy from the people of Japan following those terrible events. Nancy and I will always remember the mountain of flowers, paper cranes, and other mementos left by so many Japanese citizens at the Embassy gates in subsequent days. A year ago, Nancy planted a memorial tree on that spot to symbolize our deep and continuing gratitude to the people of Japan for their support in our hour of shared grief.

The world was changed dramatically by the terrorist attacks two years ago. One thing, however, which remains a great constant, is the abiding partnership between our two great nations. We salute Japanfs early and consistent leadership in worldwide efforts against terrorism. We are very appreciative of the efforts by Prime Minister Koizumi and his government to support Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and the international coalition to liberate and rebuild Iraq. As we pause to remember the tragedy of two years ago, Americans find great consolation and strength in the sincere and unstinting support of our friends and partners in Japan.