A Sad Homecoming For Americans

Reading the names of 12 "proud Americans" killed in a terrorist attack in Nairobi, Kenya, President Clinton led a sad homecoming ceremony at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. CBS News Senior White House Correspondent Scott Pelley reports.


Mr. Clinton called the fallen embassy workers, "proud Americans who perished very far away from home, but who never left America behind."

"No matter what it takes, we must find those responsible for these evil acts and see that justice is done," Mr. Clinton said. "There may be more hard road ahead, for terrorists target America because we act and stand for peace and democracy."



"America will not retreat from the world and all its promise, nor shrink from our responsibility to stand against terror and with the friends of freedom everywhere," the president said.

U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright accompanied the bodies, which left Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany for Andrews Air Force Base, Md., on Thursday morning.

The caskets were unloaded out of an Air Force plane before the ceremony began. Tears streamed down the president's cheek as he stood in silence beside his wife, Hillary.

The twin bombings targeted U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Besides the 12 Americans and more than 250 Africans killed, 5,000 people were injured, mostly in the Kenyan capital.

As a military band played Nearer My God To Thee, the names of the dead were solemnly announced.

Before President Clinton spoke, Defense Secretary William Cohen and Albright addressed the audience of mourning relatives and U.S. officials.

"We are deeply saddened by this tragedy," Albright said. "We must attempt to prevent such outrages in the future."

Vowing to take the yet-unknown terrorists to justice, Albright condemned those responsible for the attacks.

"Terror is the tool of cowards," Albright said. "It is murder, plain and simpleÂ…and must be opposed by all decent people."

Coffins are taken off the plane from Germany.


Cohen's words echoed those of Albright.

"Their sudden loss must only strengthen our sense of purpose. Wwe must ensure that the torch of freedom must always burn brighter than the torch of hate," Cohen said.

Mr. Clinton and his wife met with relatives of the victims before the formal ceremony Thursday morning. He spoke with each of the 10 families attending. They told him storie about their loved ones, with tears shed and hugs exchanged with the president.

After the service, each of the families dispersed to their own private services.

The body of an 11th victim, Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Sherry Lynn Olds, 40, was flown to Florida on Wednesday at her family's request. Another American, Jean Dalizu, 60, will be buried in Kenya, her adopted homeland, where she married.

Albright, who, like the president, has vowed to bring to justice those responsible for the terrorist attacks last Friday, called the fallen embassy employees "very brave Americans."

At Germany's Landstuhl hospital, where American bomb victims were being treated, Albright said she "expressed President Clinton's best wishes and support," and told them the White House would do everything possible for them and for all those injured.

She also vowed the United States will stand firm against terrorism.

"We will not be intimidated or pushed off the world stage by people who do not like what we stand for," she said.

Earlier Wednesday, seven American patients were transported to hospitals at home. Doctors who treated them in Germany said they eventually will need more surgery, and they expect there will be permanent scars.

"Some of them will have loss of vital organs, eyes for instance," said Col. Mack Blanton M.D. "We fully expect that these people will be dealing with emotional scars for quite some time."

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