Last week was the "worst week in 225 years of American history," the former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said....
speaking via satellite for the William W. Siebens American Heritage Lecture at Buena Vista University, concluding her video visit Friday evening.
But she said the country remains strong, quoting a line from America, the Beautiful:
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
"We have to rebuild that alabaster city and remember the tears, but we must never be shut down," she said of the destruction of the World Trade Center.
Albright started her speech, noting she had prepared to speak about "the American ideal, the future of democracy, and the challenges of globalization."
"But the world was turned upside down since those words were written and I can't be in Iowa tonight to deliver that kind of speech," said Albright, who was stuck in Washington, D.C., due to flight restrictions and security issues.
"Years from now our children will be telling each other where they were when they first heard, first saw and when they began to comprehend America was under assault," she said.
As she reflected on the events of last week, Albright said, "First in my thoughts is the incredible bravery and resiliency of the American people."
She noted how the victims include people from every slice of America - school children on a trip to Washington, D.C., a former pro hockey player, firefighters, police and emergency medical personnel, business men and women, and military personnel.
"Surely their lives will be memorialized in years to come, but no monument or plaque can fill the void left in our hearts... and families," she said, making a call for solidarity.
"Terror can turn life to death, laughter to tears, shared hopes to memories, crash a plane and turn a building into rubble," she said. "But it cannot alter the essential good of the American people, shake our commitment to freedom, or content anyone to resign our country's position as the leader of the free world."