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This week in Libya, we lost four of our fellow Americans. Glen Doherty, Tyrone Woods, Sean Smith, and Chris Stevens were all killed in an outrageous attack on our diplomatic post in Benghazi.
These four Americans represented the very best of our country.
Glen and Tyrone had each served America as Navy SEALs for many years, before continuing their service providing security for our diplomats in Libya. They died as they lived their lives – defending their fellow Americans, and advancing the values that all of us hold dear.
Sean also started his service in uniform, in the Air Force. He then spent years at the State Department, on several continents, always answering his country’s call. And Ambassador Chris Stevens died a hero in two countries – here in the United States, where he inspired those of us who knew him; and in Libya, a country that he helped to save, where he ultimately laid down his life.
On Friday, I was able to tell their families how much the American people appreciated their service. Without people like them, America could not sustain the freedoms we enjoy, the security we demand, and the leadership that the entire world counts on.
As we mourn their loss, we must also send a clear and resolute message to the world: those who attack our people will find no escape from justice. We will not waver in their pursuit. And we will never allow anyone to shake the resolve of the United States of America.
This tragic attack takes place at a time of turmoil and protest in many different countries. I have made it clear that the United States has a profound respect for people of all faiths. We stand for religious freedom. And we reject the denigration of any religion – including Islam.
Yet there is never any justification for violence. There is no religion that condones the targeting of innocent men and women. There is no excuse for attacks on our Embassies and Consulates. And so long as I am Commander-in-Chief, the United States will never tolerate efforts to harm our fellow Americans.
Right now, we are doing whatever we can to protect Americans who are serving abroad. We are in contact with governments around the globe, to strengthen our cooperation, and underscore that every nation has a responsibility to help us protect our people. We have moved forward with an effort to see that justice is done for those we lost, and we will not rest until that work is done.
Most of all, we must reaffirm that we will carry on the work of our fallen heroes.
I know the images on our televisions are disturbing. But let us never forget that for every angry mob, there are millions who yearn for the freedom, and dignity, and hope that our flag represents. That is the cause of America – the ideals that took root in our founding; the opportunity that drew so many to our shores; and the awesome progress that we have promoted all across the globe.
We are Americans. We know that our spirit cannot be broken, and the foundation of our leadership cannot be shaken. That is the legacy of the four Americans we lost – men who will live on in the hearts of those they loved, and the strength of the country they served.
So with their memory to guide us, we will carry forward the work of making our country stronger, our citizens safer, and the world a better and more hopeful place. Thank you.
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