‘We have lost a voice,’ Ban Ki-moon says in tribute to late Tom Lantos
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today paid tribute to the contributions of the late Congressman Tom Lantos at a memorial service held in Washington, DC, saying the world has “lost a voice” that speaks for the very principles of the United Nations.
Mr. Ban, who enjoyed a friendship with Mr. Lantos stemming from the former’s days as Foreign Minister of the Republic of Korea, praised in particular his support for the UN.
“As for me personally, I will always remember all I learned from Chairman Lantos,” said the Secretary-General, recalling that when he first visited Washington after taking the reins at the UN, Mr. Lantos “introduced me to people who could support me in my work.”
The Secretary-General has also long known the California Congressman’s wife. “When I visited him again in his office a few months ago, I had no time for lunch, so he and Annette gave me sandwiches as we worked, and he told me to consider his office my sanctuary on the Hill,” Mr. Ban said.
The veteran United States legislator also survived the Holocaust, a fact which Mr. Ban alluded to, saying Mr. Lantos’ had a voice “that stemmed from witnessing the worst in man confronted by the best in man. He knew what was possible, because he had lived through the unimaginable.”
Mourning the passing of Mr. Lantos, the Secretary-General said, “We have lost a voice that binds us to the very reasons the United Nations was founded.
“Today, I am proud to stand among you and give thanks for Tom Lantos’ valiant and incomparable life.”
During his stay in the US capital, which extends through tomorrow, Mr. Ban will hold meetings with top officials, including President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.