Cohen Expresses Sadness, Determination at Memorial
By Douglas J. Gillert
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 14, 1998 The sun shone brightly on the Air Force C-17 transport as it touched down at nearby Andrews Air Force Base, Md., shortly after 11 a.m. Aug. 13, delivering the remains of 10 Americans killed in Africa six days earlier.
Twelve Americans, including three service members, died in the Aug. 7 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The remains of Army Sgt. Kenneth R. Hobson II of Nevada, Mo., and Marine Sgt. Jesse N. Aliganga of Tallahassee, Fla., were among the 10 aboard the plane. The remains of Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Sherry Lynn Olds arrived at Dover Air Force Base, Del., Aug. 12 at the request of family members. The 12th American, civilian Jean Dalizu, was buried in Kenya. About 250 Africans were killed and 5,000 injured in the bombings.
Defense Secretary William Cohen joined President Clinton and hundreds others to receive and honor the dead. "We borrow this moment to express our sorrow and gratitude both to the families who are gathered here and to these fallen heroes who lived their dreams as soldiers and diplomats," he told the somber gathering. "They were the best that America has to offer.
"I consider our men and women in uniform to be ambassadors of goodwill as well as warriors, carrying our vales and virtues wherever they are deployed," Cohen said. "Today is a stark reminder that America's ambassadors, diplomats and their staffs are granted no exemption from danger while serving on the front lines of democracy."
Cohen joined Clinton and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in resolving to find and prosecute those responsible for the bombings. "We pledge here today that neither time nor distance can bend or break our resolve to bring to justice those who have committed these unspeakable acts of cowardice and horror," he said. "We will not rest and we will never retreat from this mission."
Rather than forcing the United States to back away from international commitments, Cohen said the deaths should strengthen national resolve.
"We can never allow terrorists to diminish our determination to press on with the inspiring work of those who have been taken from us," he said. "They did not serve, they did not sacrifice, they did not give their lives so that we could walk away from this new world they were helping to build for others.
"We must ensure that the torch of freedom always burns brighter than the fires of hate and that we continue to be an America worthy of the ultimate price that they have paid."