“We are here to mourn together, remember together, and respect together,” said Secretary-General António Guterres at the solemn ceremony, held in the Trusteeship Council chamber of the UN Headquarters in New York.
Relatives of fallen personnel, members of the diplomatic community and UN staff from around the world attended the event, both in person and online.
Honoring dear colleagues
At the beginning of the ceremony, the Secretary-General together with the President of the UN General Assembly Csaba Kőrösi and the President of the Security Council for July, Ambassador Barbara Woodward of the United Kingdom, lit a candle representing the eternal flame.
The UN chief called for a minute of silence “for all our dear, dear comrades who gave their lives for others to live.”
The names of 77 military, police and civilian personnel who died serving the Organization in the past year were read out during the ceremony.
Courage and commitment
Mr. Guterres said that these men and women, who come from 36 countries, are both colleagues and friends.
“Their service embodies the principle and the promise of the United Nations: The principle of our common humanity and the promise to act on it – to work together to solve shared challenges, and build a world of peace, prosperity and humanity rights for all,” he said.
The Secretary-General emphasized how UN staff “breathe life into the noble vision” every day, and often in difficult circumstances, as peacekeepers and humanitarian aid workers.
“Whatever their role, and whatever the situation, all those we honor today dedicated themselves to others,” he said.
“Their courage saves lives, their commitment protects those in need, and their expertise helps build a better world – now and in the future.”
Their memory lives on
Mr. Guterres noted that in a divided and dangerous world, the vision and values represented by the UN flag are more important than ever.
He supports the commitment to continue the important mission of the UN, in honor of those who gave their lives in the service of the Organization.
“We promise to continue to support the families. We are committed to continuously reviewing and improving the safety, care and well-being of our staff. And we vow to keep the memories of our fallen comrades alive: In our minds, in our hearts, and in our work to build a life with dignity and hope for all,” he said.