Bellamy, General Helland, the Aliganga family, General Ghormley, and
distinguished guests: thank you for the opportunity to participate in
this memorable and solemn occasion.
Today, at the dedication of
the new U.S. Marine Security Guard Residence here in Nairobi, we
reflect on the tragic bombings of August 7, 1998. On that day,
terrorist bombs destroyed our embassies here and in Dar es Salaam. More
than 300 innocent people, both Kenyan and American citizens, were
brutally killed. Among the fallen that day was one of our Marine
Security Guards, Sgt. Nathaniel Aliganga, in whose memory we gather
August 7th is a day we will
never forget. Even now, our embassies here and at Dar es Salaam take
time every year on that day to remember those who died and were
injured. Most of us, but especially our Kenyan colleagues, remember
exactly where we were and what we were doing when we learned the news
of the bombing.
When I heard about the
African bombings, I was working in Washington, DC. Like everyone else,
I realized that terrorists had the ability and capability to strike
virtually anywhere in the world, and that any of our posts could be the
next target. I knew then that we had a long road ahead of us. We had to
work tirelessly to rebuild our embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam,
and to stop the terrorists and tighten security at U.S. embassies
around the world. Our determination continues.
As a direct result of the
1998 embassy bombings, the Department of State has invested—and
continues to invest—hundreds of millions of dollars and
amounts of manpower each year to construct more secure embassies.
also enhancing security measures at every U.S. embassy and consulate in
We learned from the
tragedies in Africa. Now, American embassies throughout the world are
stronger than ever. Our security measures are tougher. Our technology
is smarter. And it protects us in ways never before imagined.
Today at Embassy Nairobi,
you can see evidence all around us that the United States and the State
Department are committed to making this mission and its people safer
and more secure. A new chancery opened 2 years ago. A new USAID
building is scheduled to open next year. And today, we are here,
dedicating a new Marine Residence that’s also more secure than
I am proud to be here to
help dedicate the new Marine Security Guard Residence in memory of Sgt.
Aliganga. This gallant young man volunteered for Marine Security Guard
duty so he could protect our nation, our missions, and our State
Department family. Just 21 years old, he had a lifetime of goals. When
he was killed on August 7, 1998, he was just beginning to achieve them.
Sgt. Aliganga was highly
respected by the Marines and by the State Department. He served his
nation with great pride and distinction, and we will always remember
him for his bravery, commitment, and ultimate sacrifice.
Another fine young
former Marine Security Guard who served at U.S. Embassy Tel
just two weeks ago as he was working to protect U.S. Embassy employees
in Iraq. Eric Smith and five of his Blackwater USA co-workers were
killed on April 21 when Iraqi insurgents shot down their helicopter.
Sgt. Aliganga and Eric
Smith were just two of the thousands of Marines in the past two
centuries who have stood watch over American embassies, consulates, and
missions. The Marine Security Guards are partners with the State
Department. They are dedicated to our mission and serve with us on the
front lines in the war on terrorism in our embassies and consulates
each and every day. They are critical to the protection of our people
and our facilities. Without question, the Marine Security Guards
provide our U.S. embassies and consulates with the finest line of
defense in the world.
Let this new Marine
Security Guard residence be yet another symbol of the rebuilding and
healing of this mission, a symbol of the strength of those of us who
fight on. We dedicate this building to Sgt. Aliganga, and we remember
all those who died that terrible day. All are missed. All are
remembered. May we honor their lives in the way that we live our own.
Released on May 12, 2005