Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UN Headquarters, 29 May 2009
We gather to pay tribute to the brave men and women who died while serving under the United Nations flag. We are also here to honour the countries that so generously contributed these fine individuals to the United Nations.
The medal being bestowed today is named for my distinguished predecessor, Dag Hammarskjöld, who himself died on a mission of peace to the Congo.
His life was cut short, but his conviction that the United Nations has a vital peacekeeping role endures to this day.
As he once said, “? all men and women of good will can influence the course of history in the direction of the ideals expressed in the Charter.”
Indeed, from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to Lebanon, from Timor-Leste to Darfur and beyond, United Nations police, military and civilian personnel are fostering stability and saving lives.
I present these medals to you as representatives of contributing countries. But they are destined to go to those whose loss is most profound: the families of the peacekeepers. I hope these medals can serve as a tangible symbol of our sincere condolences as well as our immense gratitude for their sacrifice.
Those family members are not here today. My message to them is this: Your loved ones gave their lives for peace, human rights, justice and social progress. We mourn their loss. We cherish their good deeds. And they will always live on as an inspiration to us as we continue their noble mission.