At the very beginning of the meeting, the MP Prof. Dr Vladimir Marinkovic thanked National Assembly Speaker Ivica Dacic, US Ambassador to Serbia H.E. Anthony Godfrey, and the founder of the association "East West Bridge" Jovan Kovacic for their support in organising this gathering, which has, he said, become a tradition. "Today we want to express solidarity and empathy with the United States, with the American people, to remind ourselves of our alliance and that our peoples share the same values, that we have overcome many difficult moments and challenges together and to send the message that we can improve our relations and we will raise them to the highest level", said Marinkovic. He pointed out that Serbia has achieved strong political, economic and military relations with the US and that it will, together with the association "East West Bridge" and the Serbian-American Friendship Congress, organise a series of events related to military and economic cooperation and the Open Balkans initiative, to celebrate the 140 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Marinkovic said that 24 September also marks the 70th anniversary of military cooperation and military assistance that Serbia received from the US. He added that Serbia is also starting to build a culture of remembrance with the US, since September will also mark the 74th anniversary of Operation Halyard when more than 500 US pilots were rescued in WWII by the Yugoslav Army in the Serb fatherland.
Prof. Dr Vladimir Marinkovic asked pastor Nenad Savic to open the Conference by reading a prayer for all the victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the US. The pastor addressed the audience by reading Psalm 23 of the Bible.
Following the introductory prayer, National Assembly Speaker Ivica Dacic took the opportunity to express the Serbian citizens’ respect and solidarity with the US Government and all the families of those tragically killed in the terrorist attacks in the US, as well as his personal condolences for their loss. He said that in the past 20 years, the world has undergone great changes, many of them shaped by the fight against terrorism and the response of peaceful humanity to the growing extremism that threatened its life and development. He added that throughout the Republic of Serbia had been a part of the global community of people who resist the encroachment of terrorism, prevent its spread and take on new forms of action. “We know very well that the Balkans is one of the regions where fighters for battlefields in remote parts of the world are recruited, and that is why we use all of our resources to prevent the extremists’ activities. We are sure that no one can stand against terrorism alone, no matter how big or powerful they are. This is one of the most important lessons we have all learned from the tragedy of September 11, and that is why it is of great importance to remain a global community in that fight, regardless of all of our other differences and world views. Just as terrorists see no borders between states or differences between nations, carrying out their destructive plans, so must our common response be”, said Dacic.
US Ambassador to Serbia Anthony Godfrey thanked Serbia for the solidarity in the fight against terrorism. "We truly appreciate the solidarity of our friends and hosts, and for me it is a great honour to be able to commemorate this day in the National Assembly. We are also grateful to Serbia, which has decided to cooperate with America and the rest of the world in the fight against terrorism. Our partnership with Serbia is based on common values and a common vision for the future," said the Ambassador.
The participants of the conference also watched a video message from Congressman John Moolenaar who said that the heroes who first reacted after the attack and made the greatest sacrifices to save people that day will never be forgotten. He said that the attack on September 11, 2001, united people around the world in the fight against terrorism, and a large number of countries around the world sent their support to the US. He thanked the leaders of the Republic of Serbia who organised these conferences, so that future generations do not forget these tragedies.
Jovan Kovacevic, president and founder of the association "East West Bridge" also addressed the assembly, reminding the attending that the terrorist attack on the US on September 11, 2001, claimed the lives of 2,996 innocent victims, injuring over 6,000 more. "Special recognition should be given to all the heroes who, at the cost of their lives, came to the aid of the victims", said Kovacevic. He also reminded the attending of the fact that the Serbian people had paid with their lives fighting in two great wars for the spirit of freedom and for ideals, together with the US and other allies. Terror is a vicious disease of humanity and we must work together to bring the villains to justice, to eradicate this curse and its causes", Jovan Kovacevic concluded.
At the end of the conference, MP Prof. Dr Vladimir Marinkovic once again thank the attending and stressed that we should fight for common values every day.