|Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Statement following remains repatriation ceremony, Noi Bai International Airport
Hanoi, Vietnam, September 7, 1999
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Good morning. Together with Vietnamese officials, I have just participated in a deeply moving and solemn ceremony: the repatriation of four additional sets of remains to the United States. I want to thank Ambassador Peterson, Brigadier General Axson, Lieutenant Colonel Peppers and all the members of our Joint Task Force who have worked so hard to make this possible.
From here the remains will be flown to a special Army lab in Hawaii, where they will be analyzed and identified. Our hope is to provide some American families with the limited and long-delayed solace that certainty can provide about the fate of their loved ones.
The work of recovering remains is emotionally brutal -- and there is no guarantee of success. But we persevere in this intensive effort because the United States will never forget our fallen, and our missing, and the sacrifice of their families. This is a humanitarian mission we do for America.
I also want to thank the government and people of Vietnam for all that they have done to help us obtain the fullest possible accounting of Americans still missing or otherwise unaccounted for in Southeast Asia. By cooperating fully in this effort in recent years, Vietnam has paved the way to deeper diplomatic, political and economic ties between our two countries.
Meanwhile, this issue remains paramount to the United States. We hope that our assistance is useful to Vietnam as it seeks to account for its own heavy losses. And our thoughts are with all those families -- American and Vietnamese -- who for too many years have borne the burdens of that tragic war.
America is always proud of its fighting men and women. When they die in battle, no matter how difficult or how long it takes, we will bring them home.
[End of Document]
Photos taken at repatriation ceremony, Noi Bai International Airport