President Obama: I would like to begin today by telling you about
an American named Chris Stevens. Chris was born in a town
called Grass Valley, California, the son of a lawyer and a
musician. As a young man, Chris joined the Peace Corps
and taught English in Morocco. And he came to love
and respect the people of North Africa and the Middle East
He would carry that commitment throughout his life.
As a diplomat, he worked from Egypt to Syria,
from Saudi Arabia to Libya. He was known
for walking the streets of the cities where he worked
tasting the local food, meeting as many people as he could,
speaking Arabic, listening with a broad smile.
Chris went to Benghazi in the early days of the Libyan
revolution, arriving on a cargo ship.
As America’s representative, he helped the Libyan
people as they coped with violent conflict,
cared for the wounded, and crafted a vision for the future
in which the rights of all Libyans would be respected.
And after the revolution, he supported the birth of a
new democracy, as Libyans held elections, and built
new institutions, and began to move forward after
decades of dictatorship. Chris Stevens loved his work.
Chris Stevens loved his work. He took pride in
the country he served, and he saw dignity in the
people that he met. And two weeks ago,
he traveled to Benghazi to review plans to establish
a new cultural center and modernize a hospital.
That’s when America’s compound came under attack.
Along with three of his colleagues,
Chris was killed in the city
that he helped to save. He was 52 years old.
Today, we must reaffirm that our future will be determined
by people like Chris Stevens and not by his killers.
Today, we must declare that this violence and
intolerance has no place among our United Nations.
And I promise you this: Long after the killers are
brought to justice, Chris Stevens’ legacy will live
on in the lives that he touched — in the tens of
thousands who marched against violence
through the streets of Benghazi; in the Libyans
who changed their Facebook photo to one of Chris;
in the signs that read, simply, "Chris Stevens was
a friend to all Libyans." They should give us hope.
They should remind us that so long as we work for it,
justice will be done, that history is on our side,
and that a rising tide of liberty will never be reversed.