at United States Reception
The World Financial Center
New York, New York
September 12, 2002
8:55 P.M. EDT
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
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
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.)