May 4th, 2011
12:04 AM ET

Cooper on 9/11 victims: 'I hope it is their names we speak'

Editor's note: From Ground Zero, Anderson Cooper pays tribute to the victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

From CNN.com's Archives: September 11, A Memorial

Related video: Justice has been done, Obama says

(Read a transcript of Cooper's remarks after the jump)

Anderson Cooper, May 3, 2011, at Ground Zero:

"Well, normally we end our broadcast with the "RidicuList," something to kind of make you smile before going to bed, but it didn't seem appropriate this week. So tonight, just a personal thought as we end.

"It's understandable that in the hours since Osama bin Laden's killing there’d be so much talk about him, so much coverage. After nearly ten years of waiting, ten years of imagining where he was, what his life was like, wondering if he would strike again, it is a relief to know he's gone. It's like exhaling after holding one's breath for a painfully long time. We all want to hear as much detail as we can, and that's natural and understandable. Someday, however, in the not too distant future, I hope we no longer give bin Laden the satisfaction of ever speaking his name or even remembering him in our nightmares.

"I keep thinking of him now, buried at sea, wrapped in a white cloth in a weighted bag, slid into the icy ocean. They say it was done according to Islamic tradition. That upset some people and I understand why.

"But the message it sends is that we are a country that does not drag the bodies of our enemies through the streets. We do not behead them for the entertainment of others. We do not mutilate their corpses.

"I think of his body sinking into the sea, disappearing into the dark depths of the ocean. This man who terrorized so many for so long has simply disappeared. The ocean is a very big place and in the end, Osama bin Laden was a very small man.

"There will be no grave marker for him. No place for fanatical followers to come and pay their twisted respect. He's gone. We cannot, nor should we ever forget the horror that this man unleashed, but as the months and years pass, I hope that his name is hardly ever uttered. I hope his picture disappears, as well.

"As the years pass and the years ahead, I hope it's not the wasted life of this mass murderer we remember. I hope instead we recall the lives of those we’ve lost.

"I hope we remember Leon Smith Jr., one of the brave New York City firefighters who rushed into the burning Twin Towers. Being a firefighter was his dream. His fellow firefighters told the New York Times he was known for fixing the cars of just about anyone in the firehouse, as well as the cars of their wives and girlfriends even if it meant making those repairs after coming off a 24-hour shift. Leon was 48 years old and left three daughters behind.

"I hope we remember Samantha Lightbourn-Allen, a budget analyst at the Pentagon. She was 36, a mother of 16 - of a 16-year-old son, a 12- year-old daughter, a born-again Christian. Friends say she spent all of her spare time with her kids and in her church. Samantha also left behind a twin sister.

"And Craig Damian Lilore; he was just 30, worked in finance for Cantor Fitzgerald, high up in the north tower. The [New York] Times said he also had a law degree. Craig was a husband and a father to a newborn son, Joseph Craig. That’s him there in the photo. Craig had recently bought a boat but had never had a chance to name it. His brother-in-law told the [New York] Times they'd given it a name and call it Craiger.

"In the years ahead, I hope it is their names we speak, not bin Laden's. I hope it's how they lived their lives we remember in addition to how those lives ended. I hope we remember all that they did and all that they never lived to do. If you'd like to take a few moments tonight to learn more about those who died on 9/11, you can go to our web site, AC360.com, where we have a list of remembrance. Good night."

soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. lorrie merck

    Thank you Anderson Copper Your words where perfect and from the heart.Thank you to all those who ran into those buildings to save lifes.Thank you to those who didn't go down with out a fight.Thank you to every soilder who didn't give up untill the job was done and to all those families who stand behind them GOD BLESS YOU ALL.

    May 5, 2011 at 1:56 am |
  2. Jolee

    Beautifully spoken, perhaps other reporters will learn from you...

    May 4, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
  3. tammy

    Anderson does great reporting. The show keeps all of us well informed on what is going on. I also want to commend the people behind the scenes as well. I always look forward to watching this show.

    May 4, 2011 at 11:41 pm |
  4. Stephen Berson

    On Anderson 360 Nick Robertson took a tour from the Pakistan Academy to Bin Ladens house. On the way he passed a home with walls and barbed wire similar to Bin Ladens. Do you think it possible Al-Zawahiri the AlQaeda #2 man may live there? Maybe Nick should check that out with some soldiers for backup.

    May 4, 2011 at 11:37 pm |
  5. Barbara - Destin, FL

    Anderson, I'm curious, with a 38 minute firefight, why didn't any Pakaskani police or military surround the compound to find out what was going on? Even the local neighor was tweeting about it. Seems curious that no Pakaskani officials went to the location. Weird wouldn't you say?

    May 4, 2011 at 11:14 pm |
  6. Sandra Wade

    Yes, Anderson, thank you for keeping it real. I appreciate your tribute and making the point my sister and I skyped while I was in Japan. I would rather be put be hind us "Whats his Name" and should not continue to be spoken! Spoken evil.. yet remember all our hero's who deserve our thoughts and attention.
    I am an American Airlines safety professional.. I remember my co-workers and all those who gave so much as a result of these horific events. I pray now for all our troops and coalition troops around the world.. Thanks again.. Sandra

    May 4, 2011 at 11:11 pm |
  7. Alfredo de Gallegos

    A very thoughtful, insightful report by Anderson Cooper. His comments go to the heart of the matter. An evil man is dead. It's time to remember the victims both living and dead and relegate Bin Laden to oblivion.
    Well done.

    May 4, 2011 at 10:52 pm |
  8. Charles

    Two helicopters…one crashes…40 minute fire fight…close to a military training facility….city is home to many retired military personnel……and no response from security forces or police…..What’s the deal?????

    May 4, 2011 at 10:28 pm |
  9. Aster Stickney

    Hi Anderson,

    I would like to say this words " The Search is Over" now people can go on with their lives with less anticipation that OBL might strike again, although there might be someone who will rise up in the future to be his successor but for now at least it will give some kind of closure specially to all the victims families. I hope they will not release any photos of him because for sure it will trigger anger and hatred to all his members around the world that are loyal to him and retaliation will expected in the future. Those who don't believe that OBL is now dead then be it, they are entitle to their own belief.

    May 4, 2011 at 9:12 pm |
  10. john Antrim Giuliano

    I saw Osama Bin Laden as a modern day Simon Bart Sinister. Watching the news to see if he would take over the airwaves by hypnotizing us and realizing our fear of another 9/11 like catastrophe is possible.

    May 4, 2011 at 8:53 pm |
  11. Hilda Kipelio

    As we speak the names of the 9/11 victims, let us also remember the 8/5/1998 victims killed in Nairobi, Kenya and Kampala, Uganda.

    May 4, 2011 at 8:47 pm |
  12. seun james

    Funny I'm writing this coz I'm nt american,anderson hit home aleast to me,armed or nt shud we give obl any reason to b alive let's nt 4gt tht he hs got ova 3000 lives killd.he hd dis comin n itz sad president obama dosnt wnt to make public dem pics,coz I blive all americans hv lost a loved 1 due to his singular act on 09112001,like cythia dechenois said "he didn't respect dos he killd" y shud d US gov respect him.he ws feard wen alive nw he still feard in death smh.gud work anderson cooper n his team @ CNN n fanks 4 always puttin evrifin in prospective

    May 4, 2011 at 8:32 pm |
  13. Theresa Marchione

    Thanks, Cooper. You always know exactly what to say. I like the idea of bin Laden being at the bottom of the ocean. We can only hope his "followers" will REALLY follow him all the way to his watery grave.

    May 4, 2011 at 8:08 pm |
  14. Joyce Asbury

    I think Anderson Cooper said it best. Thank you for your insightful message. It's just too bad there are those who refuses to believe he's dead. But there are always nayssayers so being American we need to accept their freedom of speech. Well done Mr. Cooper!

    May 4, 2011 at 8:03 pm |
  15. Lilibeth

    Hi Anderson, thank you for this very moving tribute. That was beautiful! Thank you, is all I can say.

    Edmonds, Washington

    May 4, 2011 at 7:51 pm |
  16. Brooks

    What you said was spot on. There is no cause for celebration, even with him dead, the 3000 innocent victims are still gone. Like you said, the best thing we can do is to never forget who died on 9/11/01.

    May 4, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
  17. Evelyn Calabrese

    I replayed Anderson Cooper's closing remarks "Tribute to Victims." So compelling I had to hear it again. Anderson Cooper had me on the edge of my seat. He truly said it all. To me, he is always professional, focused, sincere, heartfelt, believable, and gifted. He has a natural ability to speak, deliver and report in a way that comes across effortlessly interesting. The tribute he delivered Tuesday night moved me and helped me focus in a more positive direction. I was so upset constantly hearing in the news bin Laden was unarmed. How many people that were slaughtered on 911 were armed? Thank you so much CNN and Anderson Cooper for your message.

    May 4, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
    • tammy

      I was very impressed with his closing comments that night. Very well said.

      May 4, 2011 at 11:29 pm |
  18. Denisa McCallum

    I really liked what Aderson Cooper had to say last night. It brought me to tears but I felt something was missing. There was no mention of the many men and women in the military that we lost to get us to this point.

    May 4, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
  19. Frank Lucas

    AC, your closing comments last night were spot on. Thank you for putting Osama Bin Laden's death and the American mindset back into proper perspective.

    May 4, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
  20. MA Moore

    This is one of the most eloquent and accurate speeches I have heard yet! Love to you dear Anderson!

    May 4, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
  21. Cynthia Duchenois

    Mr. Cooper,
    This is by far the best, most thoughtful, and most positive commentary I have yet heard regarding the killing of bin Laden. I pray that your wish may come true, that the monster that perpetrated and promulgated such hatred and violence will sink to the bottom of our collective consciousness just as his body sinks to the bottom of the bottomless, cold, dark ocean. What we should remember is the wonderful, vibrant lives of people cut down in their prime, and even before their prime. Their memories, their smiles, their love can live on forever. And no one, no monster, no deranged psychopath, can steal that from us. Thank you for your commentary.
    Cynthia Duchenois
    Clarksville, TN

    May 4, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
  22. John Moore - PA

    Enough of the PC talk about the burial of Bin Laden. He and his followers have never shown any respect for those they have killed, it is appropriate that we treat the dead correctly but no special rules for Muslims. Why do we keep treating them as requiring special care when all we should do is show them the normal level of respect. They typically expect others to respect their ways but ignore ours.

    May 4, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
  23. Hathor

    Your Tuesday night broadcast was outstanding. They expect ritual honors, but grant none to those they murder.

    Just thinking ..... Will Mr. Trump be requesting a long form Death Certificate?

    Always been a fan Mr Cooper, and I still get up at 3am in the morning to watch you.

    May 4, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
  24. Jennifer - Michigan

    That was a touching piece. We're all glad that he's dead....it is the victims we should remember. His face always haunted me....resembled my step-father's from years ago. It's good that he is buried in the ocean to be forgotten forever..

    May 4, 2011 at 10:25 am |
  25. Benjamin

    What have happen or what is happening to the world ( mostly USA) mind set to place spiritual value on the morbid photos of Ben Ladin?
    What a about trusting our government heads, FBI, CIA, Navy Seals, and a host of others that viewed the photos of the capture and killing of
    Mr. Ben Ladin. We as a nation are degenerating to be evil prone . There is already a fake photo on the Internet to satisfy our morbid curiosity.
    This is truly sad if this mental attitude is not checked and reversed. Our media components is to blamed because this is where our society
    get the information to form an opinion.


    May 4, 2011 at 8:20 am |

      we want to see the picture.here say is here say show us the proof

      May 4, 2011 at 10:28 pm |
  26. Randy Campbell

    Lets get real!! Is Osama dead? The Pres has lied and changed his politics so much I believe this is an attempt to get his popularity back with the people. They are already changing their reports on this event. I believe he is biting his nails because he is scared the truth will come out. Just like his fake birth certificate that took this long to produce. Pics mean nothing. Should have captured him alive for proof and to bring true justice the old fasioned way! We, as Americans would not have thrown his body out to sea! Come on America, get real!! This is all a big LIE!

    May 4, 2011 at 7:42 am |
  27. Patti

    Well said Anderson!

    May 4, 2011 at 7:03 am |
  28. eddie

    All we seem to hear in addition to Bin Laden being dead is why his location wasn't known to the Pakistan government. Like the rest of the world I'm glad he's dead but don't be too hard on the Pakistan folks. Eric Rudolph was arrested 30 miles from where I live and the FBI had looked for him for 6 years with over 1500 agents at times along with local law enforcement and volunteers. He was caught by a local policeman while dumpster diving for food in Murphy, NC. Had been living across the highway for years in a camp. So, it is not impossible to disappear if one wants to.

    May 4, 2011 at 6:06 am |
  29. Abdirizak

    Hi Anderson,

    Osama can be killed or die because his is human being like us but the rid of the compound and killing Osama looks like American Fake Movie.
    Why am I saying that? Because of the following questions:
    1 how he has able to live that building without knowing Pakistani army, police, intelligence and the people of the city? Pakistani people are not like American people because they are active they would know who lives in this big building.
    2 the city is a military city how the military personnel don’t see or hear the helicopter and the operation without knowing and co-operating with Americans?
    3 how you told us the first time Osama was armed fought behind his wife and now you are telling another story?
    4 If he was not armed why don’t they capture him a live?
    5 why white house don’t release the pictures or whatever they have?
    6 why they dumped as they said at the sea very quick without more investigation?
    Question why American government is making this fake movie?
    It is simple; they want to leave Afghanistan by this year 2011 so they want to go with home some conclusion, proud, and victory.
    we want evidence please.

    May 4, 2011 at 3:06 am |
  30. MauiMan

    Stellar reporting Mr. Cooper, as always.
    Like you said,its time to remember the victims, their famalies, the first responders, voulenteers, and all the children who will never know their parents, brothers, sisters,mentors and heros. somewhere 3000 souls feel a little better tonigbt, can rest easy, and know we will NEVER forget them.

    God bless them.all,& God bless America....

    May 4, 2011 at 3:06 am |
  31. Harry Monroe

    Excellent commentary on how we should remember the victims of Bin Laden! I am already sick of seeing the image of Bin Laden splashed all over the tv and print media. I love the way you highlighted two of the victims, and spoke of their lives. That was a wonderful segment, and I hope we see more broadcasts like this. Good job.

    May 4, 2011 at 3:00 am |
  32. Matt Mohan

    Mr.Morgan,Its great 2 c that this unrealistic dirt bag is dead.I'm from a small town in Westchester Cnty Ny.The town is Somers,we lost 3 great people on 9/11.One was Joe Spor,rescue 3 FDNY,Richard Klares,AON cunsulting,and also Mr.Bishop,AON consulting.I had the privilge 2 know MR.Klares,he was a great man.God bless all of the family and friends of 9/11,it is tough day everyday.Thank u to the SEAL team and other members of military a 4 taking him out.God bless all military personel still over there.GOD bless AMERICA!Thank U.

    May 4, 2011 at 2:44 am |


    May 4, 2011 at 2:37 am |
  34. Angela

    Really want to compliment you on the closing remarks on tonight's show. Well said and very true. Bin Laden shouldn't be remembered, instead those thoughts should go to the innocent victims and their families! I love your show and appreciate all you do to bring your viewers the important stories!

    May 4, 2011 at 2:02 am |
  35. Charles Lie

    Mr. Cooper, your eulogy for Mr Ladin on May 3rd was spot on. Very well done. Chuck

    May 4, 2011 at 2:00 am |
  36. Jay M. Hollis

    I cannot say enough about your closing monologue. Very, very well done, Anderson!

    May 4, 2011 at 1:58 am |
  37. Scott G.

    Anderson Cooper... You said this PERFECTLY! I've been trying to think of how to say this every time this subject comes up around me.

    Thank You.

    May 4, 2011 at 1:48 am |
  38. Mitch Mendler - The Patriot Flag

    CNN and Anderson Cooper did an outstanding job detailing the loss of loved ones and the greif for 9/11 families and the association with the death of BinLaden. Remember the fallen and forget Osama.... Great JOB!!! Never Forget!

    May 4, 2011 at 12:47 am |
  39. Daniel indelicato

    Well said!

    May 4, 2011 at 12:31 am |
  40. Michelle

    AC you couldn't of said it better! We founded our country for the freedom of religion! So, why wouldn't we respect Bin Laden's religious beliefs. We live in an incredible country; a place we get to live our lives in freedom...something I think we Americans forget. GOD BLESS ALL OF US!

    May 4, 2011 at 12:22 am |
  41. Sanjay Saldanha

    I watched AC 360 today, and I found the ending to be absolutely brilliant 'I hope it is their names we speak'. If only you were the spokesperson for the White House, people would have a better understanding of why it was right to just bury OBL in the sea. Also the tribute to those who died and their families was beautiful. With Ground Zero in the background, there cudnt a more perfect time or place to do this. Great work!

    May 4, 2011 at 12:11 am |