Washington, D.C.—(ENEWSPF)—May 17, 2010.
We can never replace the men, women, and children who lost their lives in the earthquake – Haitians, Americans, and others from around the world. But we can remember them. We can celebrate them. And we can honor them as we continue our mission in Haiti.
As Ambassador Merten said, “Our nation’s investment in Haiti has only deepened since the earthquake.” We will not allow this tragedy to steal Haiti’s future. We will not let Victoria and Diane’s hard work fade away. We will not let the mission that brought the Wyllie family to Haiti be abandoned. We will not walk away from the country that our local employees loved and supported.
So we will stand with the people and Government of Haiti and with our friends and partners around the world to work together to build a better future so that all Haitians have the chance to reach their own God-given potentials.
To the members of the Embassy staff in Port-au-Prince who are joining us today by videoconference: Thank you. Thank you for your heroic work to save lives and reunite families. More than any speech or policy statement, your actions showed the world what the United States stands for and you showed the best of America.
Last week, my chief of staff Cheryl Mills was in Haiti, and she took a helicopter ride to the Citadel, the largest fortress in the hemisphere, built by the newly independent Haiti in 1805. Today it is an UNESCO World Heritage site, and it is nearly inaccessible atop a remote mountain near Cap-Haitien. Preserving and restoring Haiti’s cultural heritage was Victoria’s passion, and it is our goal to pick up where she left off, by exploring ways to help the Haitian people revive this treasure and make it easier for others to experience its majesty.
And we will look for other ways as well to continue the work of the diplomats, development experts, and volunteers who came from many nations to help Haiti achieve a safe, healthy, prosperous, and vibrant future.
There is a Creole proverb heard often in Haiti: “Little by little, the bird builds its nest.”
Little by little, we will help rebuild streets and buildings stronger, safer, and better than before. Little by little, businesses will reopen and students will return to school. Little by little, Haiti will progress. Little by little, our hearts will heal, and our work will go on.
God bless those whom we lost. God bless those whom they worked with and God bless those who they served. Thank you. (Applause.)