- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 7, 2002

On September 11, Americans and our friends around the world will mark the first anniversary of the destruction of the World Trade Center, the attack on the Pentagon and the crash of United Airlines Flight 93. Just as we did on the first anniversary of Pearl Harbor, we will mourn our dead and rededicate ourselves to winning a great global struggle that we neither sought nor started.

I hope that, as the September 11 anniversary draws closer, we will remember another date that will live in infamy: Aug. 7, 1998. On that date, al Qaeda bombed American embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The men, women and children Americans, Kenyans and Tanzanians who were murdered or injured that day were among the first casualties in the global war on terrorism, and they all deserve to be remembered. The Aug. 7 anniversary will be observed in the Department of State and its Bureau of African Affairs with profound sadness and immense pride.

Al Qaeda destroyed two embassies four years ago, but did not destroy the ties that bind the American, Kenyan and Tanzanian people together. In fact, the attacks strengthened them. We remain partners with the governments and people of Tanzania and Kenya, from Peace Corps volunteers in local communities to the most complex international issues, including the global war against terrorism. The United States soon will open new embassy buildings in both Dar es Salaam and Nairobi. Those buildings will serve as tangible symbols that the comradeship the bombings forged between the American, Kenyan and Tanzanian peoples will never be allowed to wane.

Walter Kansteiner is assistant secretary of state for African affairs.

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