Wreath-laying ceremony to commemorate the 58th anniversary of the death of Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld New York, 17 September 2019
SG, DSG, Colleagues, Friends,
Thank you all for being here. Many of you come back each year for this moment of commemoration of the late SG and the colleagues that travelled with him that fateful day in 1961 when the plane went down and the world mourned.
Many of us have just come from the Prayer breakfast that always precedes the upcoming UN GA. And the SG and the DSG and myself just spent a few moments in in the meditation room right here.
As you all know it is a room perceived and designed by Dag himself. He took a very active interest in every detail. At the centre is a massive piece of iron ore from my home country. An empty altar not because there is no God, but dedicated to God who man worships under many names and in many forms. A stone firm and permanent in a world of movement and change. The room is open to all. A place, as he said, for those who come here to fill the void with what they find in the centre of stillness.
It all reflects deep traits in the personality of Dag Hammarskjöld and how he saw his mission. Respect, tolerance, duty. He was equally attached to the mandate of the UN Charter as he was constantly in touch with a higher calling.
As we prepare for this year exceptionally important UNGA. A quote came to mind
“We are not permitted to choose the frame of our destiny, but what we put into it is ours”
So, colleagues, what do we put into our destiny. Representing our countries but also the UN. What role can we play to mend a fragmented world? What is our personal contribution to ensure the expectations of all those who needs the UN the most?
I think Dag would inspire us to be ambitious and stand up for the Un Charter. I think he would have asked us all to support the strong leadership of the SG to deliver with integrity for a more peaceful world.
In reaffirming faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of men and women and to promote social progress and life in larger freedom.
There are still open questions as to the circumstances surrounding the plane crash in Ndola 58 years ago. We look forward to the report of the Eminent Person, Chief Justice Othman which I believe will be released soon. It cannot be that there be anything but full cooperation by all into shedding light on what happened.