Gerald R. Ford photo

Remarks at a Ceremony Honoring U.S. Officials Slain in Lebanon.

June 19, 1976

Mr. Secretary, Mr. Meloy, Mrs. Waring, members of the family, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:

This is a moment of sadness for America. The men who were so ruthlessly murdered in Lebanon embodied the finest traditions of our country. Their dedicated professionalism, their willingness to sacrifice, their devotion to the service of peace all were reflected at every step of their careers.

The tragedy that befell them has struck deep in the hearts of their countrymen. I extend to their families the deepest sympathies of the American people. You and the loved ones you have lost will be in the thoughts and the prayers of all of us.

Francis E. Meloy, Robert O. Waring were conditioned by the difficult days of the Second World War. Like many of us, they came out of that experience determined to make a personal contribution to the building of a better world--a world without war. For more than 30 years, they made that contribution through selfless and distinguished service to their country.

Their Lebanese associate, Zohair Moghrabi,1 gave over 25 years of loyal service to America. He has our respect, our honor, our gratitude; his family, our sympathy.

1 Chauffeur for Ambassador Meloy.

This is also a moment of reflection for America. Why were these brave men in Lebanon? Why are there others still there, searching for every opportunity to bring peace to that tragic land?

Our Nation, since its founding, has been committed to peace and respect for the rights of others. Unfortunately, there are too many places in our world where it is to someone's temporary advantage to destroy the peace, to break the bonds of unity, and to tear asunder the fabric of religious, racial, and cultural tolerance that binds together a society.

Lebanon has known peace. It was once a model of diversity and tolerance. Those were times of progress, times of hope. But those times have suddenly vanished in Lebanon and have been replaced by fear, hatred, destruction, and despair. The collapse of internal order in Lebanon is a profound challenge to all nations who know and cherish peace. It is an example of what can happen anywhere when violence triumphs over man's instinct for good and for peace.

The goal of America and the goal of our Foreign Service is to build a more secure, a more just world. We will continue to give our best to the search for peace in Lebanon and to show by word and deed that the deaths of these three brave men were not in vain.

We will continue to exercise international leadership because there is no moral alternative. We will continue to need the talent and genius of the best that America has to offer to do so. We will continue to work to build a world where men of peace can live in peace.

Now it is my very sad duty to present to Mr. Daniel Meloy the flag of American Ambassador Meloy as a tribute to one of our finest American diplomats, and to Mrs. Waring, the American flag in honor of a distinguished and dedicated Foreign Service officer.

Note: The President spoke at 4:42 p.m. at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., where he and Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger met the plane bearing the bodies of Francis E. Meloy, Jr., U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon, and Robert O. Waring, Economic Counselor of the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon.

In his opening remarks, the President referred to Daniel Meloy, the Ambassador's brother, and Mrs. Robert Waring, the Counselor's wife.

Gerald R. Ford, Remarks at a Ceremony Honoring U.S. Officials Slain in Lebanon. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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