Updated: 12-Sep-2002 Week of 9-15 September 2002

11 Sept. 2002

Remembering September 11

In the face of terror, the international community must preserve its unity and protect the values which terrorists seek to destroy, said the NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson, at a commemorative ceremony held at NATO today.

Representatives of NATO member and partner countries, NATO officials and staff gathered outside the headquarters of the Alliance this afternoon to mark the first anniversary of the September 11 attacks with a prayer of remembrance, the laying of wreaths and the lowering of NATO's 19 member countries' flags to half mast as a moment of silence was held.

Remembering the victims

"This September 11, we remember the fanatical and pitiless brutality unleashed a year ago against innocent and defenceless men and women in New York, Washington and in the air over Pennsylvania," said Lord Robertson at the start of the ceremony.

The United States Ambassador to NATO, Nicholas Burns, said that no American will ever forget the messages of solidarity and the support offered by NATO Allies after the attacks. "You helped us forge a mighty coalition to defend our democracies. You opened your ports and your airfields, you deployed Special Forces, flew combat missions, sent your doctors and de-mining teams into Afghanistan. You flew NATO AWACS missions over our cities from west to east for many long winter months," he said. "In sum, every NATO Ally and 17 Partner countries participated in our defeat of the Taliban and al-Qaeda, and in the restoration of civil in order in Afghanistan."

Meeting the challenges

The Secretary General emphasised that by invoking Article 5 of the Washington Treaty on 12 September 2001, the Allies made the strongest possible expression of transatlantic solidarity.

"The terrorists did not succeed in their aim. Instead of a clash of civilisations, the whole world united against a common threat as never before," said the Secretary General. "But we have not yet won our war. The civilised world must now follow the example of previous generations in their battles against totalitarism and be prepared for a long haul."

NATO's response to September 11

On 12 September 2001, less than 24 hours after the terrorist attacks against the United States, NATO declared the attacks to be an attack against all NATO member countries. This declaration was followed up with practical measures aimed at aiding the United States.

At the Prague Summit on 21-22 November 2002, NATO Heads of State and Government will adopt a package of measures that will strengthen the Alliance's preparedness and ability to take on the full spectrum of security challenges, including terrorism and the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

From the ceremony:

Additional information: