[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1998, Book II)]
[August 15, 1998]
[Page 1456]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

[[Page 1456]]

The President's Radio Address
August 15, 1998

    Good morning. Two days ago, at Andrews Air Force Base, we welcomed 
them home: America's brave sons and daughters, carried under Stars and 
Stripes, flanked by the silent sentries of the honor guard. They had 
perished in Nairobi, cruelly and without warning, in an act of terror at 
the American Embassy. It was not the sort of homecoming any of us would 
have wished. But it was a tribute that befit their service to our 
    Hillary and I had the honor to meet with their families on the 
morning of the ceremony. They shared stories with us, stories and 
memories, showing us photographs. Their shoulders were heavy with 
sadness; their voices sometimes shook. But anyone could tell that their 
hearts were full of pride for the brave service of their loved ones and 
pride in the Nation they so ably and faithfully represented around the 
world. Collectively, over the course of their careers, these 12 men and 
women represented the United States in more than 20 countries across the 
globe, from Brazil to Botswana, from France to the Philippines, from 
South Korea to their final post, Kenya.
    They represented America not simply by their deeds but by their 
character: by the quiet labors of a medical doctor, the careful 
diplomacy of a Foreign Service officer, the iron discipline of men and 
women in uniform. Their dedication to America was matched by their 
dedication to their families. In all these ways, they represented the 
best of our country. They showed the world our very best face and shared 
with its people our most cherished values.
    As a nation, we have lost much. These families have lost even more. 
Words cannot describe and tributes cannot begin to fill the cruel 
vacancy left by evil acts of terror. But in the example of the proud and 
grieving families I met on Thursday, we find an embodiment of American 
resolve. They made it clear to me they did not want us to give in to 
terror or to turn inward or retreat, for the world is full of promise, 
and they do not want us to try to stop resolving the misunderstandings 
that can deteriorate into the rot of hatred. Instead, they urged us to 
stand strong, as ever, for freedom and democracy in all countries and 
for all people.
    And our administration will remain committed to the fight against 
terror. Over the last few years, working with Congress, we have passed 
tough new criminal penalties, tightened security at airports, 
strengthened protection of our troops overseas. We have created an 
international coalition to help us combat terrorism and have apprehended 
or helped to capture more than 40 terrorists abroad, including those 
involved in attacks on Pan Am Flight 830 and the World Trade Center and 
in the murder of two CIA employees in Virginia.
    We must continue to lead the world toward peace, freedom, and 
prosperity. That is why our diplomats are on the job today around the 
world, working to ensure our national security, working to strengthen 
the global economy, working to bring peace to troubled regions, working 
often at risk to themselves. And that is why we now must work to rebuild 
our Embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, to secure our Embassies and 
outposts around the world, to support our friends in Tanzania and Kenya 
as they rebuild. This week I have spoken with leaders in Congress, 
Republicans and Democrats alike. In the finest American tradition, they 
have pledged to join me in protecting America's presence throughout the 
    Today we think especially of those serving in our diplomatic posts. 
I ask all our citizens to say a prayer for them and to express gratitude 
for their service. The spirit of the patriots who have dedicated or lost 
their lives to service is the spirit of America. They help to keep our 
Nation strong and free, peaceful and proud, a powerful beacon of hope 
for the world.
    Thank you for listening.

Note: The President spoke at 10:06 a.m. from the Oval Office at the 
White House.