President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton paid tribute on Friday to four Americans who were killed in an attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
The two spoke at a ceremony as the bodies of U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens and three of his colleagues were returned to the United States.
“Four Americans, four patriots. They loved this country. They chose to serve it, and served it well. They had a mission and they believed in it. They knew the danger and they accepted it,” said Obama.
“I know that that this awful loss, terrible images of recent days, pictures we’re seeing again today, cause some to question this work. And there is no doubt these are difficult days.
“In moments such as this so much anger, violence, even the most hopeful of us must wonder.
“But amid all the images of this week, I also think of the Libyans who took to the streets with homemade signs expressing their gratitude to Americans who believed in what we could achieve together. I think of the man in Benghazi with a sign in English, a message he wanted all of us to hear. It said, Chris Stevens was a friend to all Libyans. Chris Steven was a friend. That’s the message these four patriots sent.
“That’s the message that each of you sends every day. Civilians, military to people in every corner of the world. America is a friend. And we care not just about our own country, not just about our own interest, but about theirs. That even as voices of suspicion and mistrusts seek to divide countries and cultures from one another, the United States of America will never retreat from the world. We will never stop working for the dignity and freedom that every person deserves, whatever their creed, whatever their faith.
“To you, their families and colleagues, to all Americans know this; their sacrifice will never be forgotten. We will bring to justice those who took them from us. We will stand fast against the violence on our diplomatic missions. We will continue to do everything in power to protect Americans serving overseas. Whether means increasing security at our diplomatic posts, working with host countries on obligation to provide security and making it clear that justice will come to those who harm Americans.
“Most of all, even in our grief, we will be resolute. But we are Americans and we hold our head high. Knowing that because of these patriots, because of you, this country that we love will always shine as alight onto the world,” said Obama.
Clinton said that the deaths of the four were "senseless" and "unacceptable."
"The people of Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and Tunisia did not trade the tyranny of a dictator for the tyranny of a mob," Clinton was quoted by AFP as having said.
“Today we bring home four Americans who gave their lives for our country and our values," Clinton said.
Amid a fourth day of violent protests targeting U.S. diplomatic missions in the Middle East and North Africa, she also called for calm.
“Reasonable people and responsible leaders in these countries need to do everything they can to restore security and hold accountable those behind these violent acts,” Clinton said.
“There will be more difficult days ahead, but it is important that we don't lose sight of the fundamental fact that America must keep leading the world. We owe it to those four men to continue the long, hard work of diplomacy.”
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)