Prime Minister's Speech at the National Memorial Ceremony

Nasjonal minneseremoni

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg at the National Memorial Ceremony

On Sunday, August 21, 2011, Prime Minister Stoltenberg addressed the nation regarding the attacks of July 22. Following is the text of his speech.

Your Majesties,

Your Royal Highnesses,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Dear all of you,

Today we are stopping the clock to remember the dead. We are doing so as one nation. Together we lost what we could not, and should not, lose. Seventy-seven lives. Together we defeated hatred.

Together we are embracing openness, tolerance and fellowship. We have cried together with you who were forced to say a last goodbye at the graveside.

We commiserate with those of you who cannot forget the images, the sounds and the smells of that black Friday. We have thanked those of you who saved lives.

Those of you who have mitigated the pain. Every candle has warmed. Every thought has comforted. Every rose has given hope.

We are a small country. But a proud people. Together we have many questions. Together we are looking for honest answers. Not to blame other people than the perpetrator. But to know. To learn. To proceed. In respect for those who were torn away we must look ahead.

It also means parting. In everyday life, differences and disagreements await us. Variety and diversity. We welcome that. We must address three tasks in the spirit of solidarity we experienced in connection with July 22. The first is that we must see those of you who have only just begun to walk the path of grief. It is difficult for us to fully grasp the depth of the grief of losing a loved one in such a way. The empty chair at Sunday dinner. The birthday without the birthday child. The first Christmas.

You can help. Bake a cake, invite someone in for coffee. Go for a walk together. Kindness is our greatest asset.

The second task is to be alert to any signs of extremism.

We must learn from the young. We must counter hatred with arguments. We must invite in those who have gone astray. We must oppose those who want to use violence. We must meet them with all the arms of democracy. We must meet them everywhere.

Our third task is to create safety and security. Good preparedness creates security. Police in the streets creates security. Controls. Exercises. Equipment. We must do all of this.

But we need something even more important. We need you. No matter where you live. No matter what god you worship. Each and every one of us can take responsibility. Each and every one of us can guard our freedom. Together we make an unbreakable chain of solidarity, democracy, safety and security. That is our protection against violence.


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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.