I am honoured to be here among you and participate in the tribute we owe to the people who actively participated in the rescue missions that followed the heinous attacks of September 11, 2001.
The attacks constitute the most forceful example of a terrorist act and the clearest proof that the world can never be safe, unless this threat is drastically countered.
The images of the attacks on the twin towers are still sharp in our mind and today, on the 20th anniversary, we pay our respects and extend our condolences to all and each who lost one of their beloveds on that day.
At the same time, we do not forget that, besides anger and grief, on that day we witnessed acts of heroism and bravery on behalf of the firefighters, who were called to respond to the emergency that followed. Showing incomparable courage and self-denial, they surpassed the limits of their duty and devoted their whole essence to the service of a bleeding society.
Their response was remarkable and these people, leading by their example, managed to project a new dimension of the dedication to the public service.
Self-denial was witnessed also during the latest large-scale fires in Greece, where a mission from Cyprus was sent in response to the Greek authorities’ emergency call.
The Cypriot firefighters had to operate on an unknown ground with limited experience of its morphology. Nevertheless, they managed to excel at the territories assigned to them and their contribution to the containment of the fire was publicly acknowledged by the Government of Greece and the public.
I want to take this opportunity to reiterate the Government’s gratefulness and to congratulate them for their contribution but also the pride they offered to Cyprus.
Today’s event gives us all the opportunity to honour not only the memory of the lost ones, but also the efforts of the first responders, those who were always present in large- scale catastrophes and do the utmost to secure people’s lives and properties.
Before closing, Madame Ambassador I wish to congratulate you and the American Embassy for organizing this event.
I am very grateful because, besides the important and timeless message of respect that this memorial publicly sends, you cared and took the opportunity to raise voluntary donations for the purchase of equipment for the Cyprus Fire Service.
I also express my appreciation and thanks to all those persons who through their participation helped to raise the donations.
Finally, on behalf of the Cyprus Government I would like to thank you for this significant initiative and for your continuous support.