Remarks by Ambassador John F. Tefft at the Arkhangelsk Governor’s Meeting with Diplomatic Representatives and Veterans

August 31, 2016

Allow me to thank you again and all of your staff for the arrangements which you have made and the wonderful commemorations in the city. All of us are honored to be here on this day and we recognize how much work has been done.

To the veterans who are here with us today, I want to say a simple heartfelt thank you.

It is a great honor for my colleagues from the United States embassy and the consulate in Saint-Petersburg to be here in the presence of so many heroes. It is humbling to remember your sacrifice and particularly that of your comrades who are no longer with us. 75 years ago, you stood together in solidarity, and you saved the world.

We will never forget all that you gave, so that we might live free. That is why commemorations like this are so important.

But they also aren’t enough. The rest of us here today — we must do more than simply remember. We must choose to live up to your example.

All the nationalities which are represented here whether they were either communist or capitalist, Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, or Jew — at history’s darkest hour, you stood up in defense of the human dignity and humane values that unite us all. We can do the same today.

You have entrusted the world you saved to our care. To truly honor your heroism, let us find the will to work together as you did, and to live up to all that your great legacy demands.

Thank you.