Obama: Americans laid down lives 'in service to us all'
President Barack Obama speaks Friday at a ceremony in for the four Americans killed Tuesday in Benghazi.
September 14th, 2012
01:23 PM ET

Obama: Americans laid down lives 'in service to us all'

Editor's note: Several protests stemming at least in part from an anti-Islam film produced in the United States are unfolding outside U.S. embassies around the world. Friday's protests follow ones Tuesday at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, where attacks killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans.

In Tunisia, protesters have scaled a U.S. Embassy gate and set fire to cars on the property, a journalist there says. In Egypt, the influential Muslim Brotherhood canceled nationwide protests planned for Friday, but a running battle between police and protesters in Cairo continued into its fourth day.

Follow the live blog below for all of the developments around the world.

[Updated at 3:04 p.m. ET] A ceremony at Maryland's Joint Base Andrews for the returned bodies of the four Americans killed at the Benghazi consulate has ended, and the caskets are being carried to hearses. See the 2:59 and 2:51 p.m. entries for remarks by President Barack Obama, who said the four laid down their lives "in service to us all."

[Updated at 2:59 p.m. ET] President Barack Obama, at a ceremony at Maryland's Joint Base Andrews for the returned bodies of the four Americans killed at the Benghazi consulate, added:

"The United States of America will never retreat from the world. We will never stop working for the dignity and freedom that every (person) deserves. ... That’s the essence of American leadership. ... That was their work in Benghazi, and that is the work we will carry on."

At the beginning and toward the end of his remarks, Obama cited the Bible's John 15:13: "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." Obama said the four killed Americans laid down their lives "in service to us all."

"Their sacrifice will never be forgotten," Obama said.

[Updated at 2:51 p.m. ET] President Barack Obama, at a ceremony for the returned bodies of the four Americans killed at the Benghazi consulate, is now eulogizing the four at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.

Ambassador Chris Stevens, Obama said, "was everything America could want in an ambassador."

"Four Americans, four patriots. They loved this country. They chose to serve it, and served it well," Obama said. "They had a mission they believed in. They knew the danger, and they accepted it. They didn't simply embrace the American ideal, they lived it; they embodied it. The courage, the hope, and yes, the idealism - that fundamental American belief that we could leave this world a little better than before."

Ex-SEALs, online gaming maven among Benghazi dead

[Updated at 2:45 p.m. ET] At a ceremony for the returned bodies of the four Americans killed at the Benghazi consulate, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said:

"Today we bring home four Americans who gave their lives for our country and our values. To the families of our fallen colleagues, I offer our most heartfelt condolences and deepest gratitude."

She saluted Sean Smith, a computer expert, as someone known as "an expert on technology by colleagues in Pretoria, Baghdad, Montreal and The Hague."

She hailed ex-Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods as someone who protected diplomatic personnel since 2010 "in dangerous posts" around the world.

"He had the hands of a healer as well as the arms of a warrior, earning distinction as a registered nurse and certified paramedic," Clinton said of Woods.

Clinton also hailed the other ex-Navy SEAL, Glen Doherty. "He, too, died as he lived, serving his country and protecting his colleagues."

Clinton said Stevens, as a diplomat, "won friends for the United States in far-flung places.” She thanked his parents, who were at the ceremony, for the "gift" that Stevens was.

The ceremony was at a hangar at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.

[Updated at 2:35 p.m. ET] The ceremony for the returned bodies of the four Americans killed at the Benghazi consulate has begun. A prayer is being offered. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will speak soon, followed by Obama.

[Updated at 2:31 p.m. ET] Marines at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland are removing from a plane the flag-draped caskets of four Americans killed in the consulate attack in Libya, including U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. The caskets will be placed at a hangar nearby, and President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will give remarks.

[Updated at 2:28 p.m. ET] We're awaiting a ceremony at which U.S. President Barack Obama will honor the arrival of the bodies of of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans killed in the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon Penetta have entered the hangar where the ceremony will take place at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.

[Updated at 2:22 p.m. ET] Marines will take the caskets off a plane at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will give remarks. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will also be present, Pentagon spokesman George Little said.

People are seated at a facility on the base. The caskets will flank the podium from which Obama and Clinton will speak.

[Updated at 1:41 p.m. ET] Three people were killed and 28 wounded during protests outside the U.S. Embassy in Tunis on Friday, Tunisia state television reported.

[Updated at 1:23 p.m. ET] U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will join Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at this afternoon's "transfer of remains ceremony" marking the return of the remains of the four Americans killed this week in Benghazi, Libya.

Obama and Clinton will deliver brief remarks at the 2:15 p.m. ET ceremony at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.

[Updated at 1:15 p.m. ET] Here is video from today's protests in Khartoum, Sudan:

[Updated at 12:23 p.m. ET] Nigerian military and police fired shots to disperse a crowd of protesters in the city of Jos, an eyewitness said.

About 2,000 people protesting the anti-Islamic film gathered at a central mosque, and security forces intervened when the crowd started moving toward the city center.

[Updated at 12:15 p.m. ET] Some protesters who scaled the gates of the U.S. Embassy in Tunis, Tunisia, reached a garden outside the building but have not breached the building itself, journalist Zeid Mhirsi reports.

Also, the thick, black smoke that we previously reported was near the Embassy is coming from burning vehicles on the Embassy grounds, Mhirsi reported.

Earlier, he reported that protesters took down a U.S. flag from a pole at the Embassy and replaced it with a black flag. Police were firing tear gas in an attempt to disperse them. (See 10:20 and 10:42 a.m. entries.) Hard-line Muslims known as Salafists were among the demonstrators, Mhirsi reported.

[Updated at 12:06 p.m. ET] Some Friday protests that hadn't yet been mentioned in this blog post:

In Afghanistan, hundreds of demonstrators in the eastern Nangarhar province burned a U.S. flag and chanted "Death to America" and "We condemn the film." The demonstration lasted about an hour and ended peacefully, a local official said. The Afghan government has ordered an indefinite block of YouTube to prevent people there from watching the clips and staging violent protests.

In Baghdad, Iraq, hundreds of followers of the radical Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr chanted "No to America, no to Israel."

In Jerusalem, Palestinians marched from the al-Aqsa mosque toward the U.S. Consulate, but were prevented from reaching the mission by Israeli riot forces.

In Syria, hundreds gathered outside the U.S. Embassy in Damascus. Protesters waved placards that condemned the film and blamed the U.S. administration for allowing the production and broadcast of it, according to the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency.

In Iran, the Islamic Propagation Coordination Council called for nationwide rallies Friday to protest the film and what it is calling a U.S.-backed plot against Muslims, according to the state-run IRNA news agency.

[Updated at 11:57 a.m. ET] An update on Friday's protest outside the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum, Sudan: Journalist Isma'il Kushkush says no protesters have been able to get inside the compound, and that police and security forces appear to have the situation under control.

Small fires are burning nearby. Kushkush said he believes protesters set tires ablaze. For more on the Khartoum protests, including one at the German Embassy there, see the 9:54 and 8:42 a.m. entries.

[Updated at 11:52 a.m. ET] Ninety-three protesters have been arrested in Egypt since Thursday night, Egyptian Interior Ministry spokesman Alaa Mahmoud said. Forty-eight officers have been injured, he added.

[Updated at 11:40 a.m. ET] Protesters in southern India have been arrested on suspicion of throwing rocks at the U.S. Consulate in Chennai, the city police commissioner said. As many as 200 protesters were demonstrating in front of the building, but the number arrested was not reported. There were no reported injuries.

[Updated at 10:57 a.m. ET] Video from Tunisia's capital shows thick, black smoke rising from an area near the U.S. Embassy. It's not clear what was on fire.

Protesters there had taken down a U.S. flag from the embassy property and replaced it with a black flag, journalist Zeid Mhirsi reported. Police fired tear gas at protesters as some of them climbed the property's walls.

[Updated at 10:42 a.m. ET] Protesters have taken down a U.S. flag from a pole at the U.S. Embassy in Tunis, Tunisia, and replaced it with a black flag, journalist Zeid Mhirsi reports.

Earlier, Mhirsi reported protesters were climbing the building's gates, and police fired tear gas in an attempt to disperse them. (See 10:20 a.m. entry.) Hard-line Muslims known as Salafists were among the demonstrators, Mhirsi reported.

[Updated at 10:25 a.m. ET] A U.S. Marine Corps security team is being sent to help protect U.S. diplomatic installations in Yemen, including the Embassy in Saana, a senior U.S. official said, according to CNN's Barbara Starr.

Earlier today, Yemeni police opened fire to stop protesters from reaching the U.S. Embassy in Saana, witnesses said (see 7:31 a.m. entry).

The protection team is similar to the team of 50 Marines that was sent earlier this this week to Tripoli, Libya, in the wake of the attack in Benghazi.

[Updated at 10:20 a.m. ET] Protesters are climbing the gates of the U.S. Embassy in Tunis, Tunisia, and police have fired tear gas in an attempt to disperse them, journalist Zeid Mhirsi reports.

Some protesters, who are about 20 meters outside the U.S. Embassy gates, are throwing rocks at the police, Mhirsi says. He says
that some protesters are waving black flags as they attempt to vandalize the gates.

[Updated at 10:15 a.m. ET] U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is scheduled to receive the remains of the U.S. diplomats killed in Libya at Andrews Air Force Base at 2 p.m. ET Friday.

[Updated at 10:13 a.m. ET] Add Tunisia to the list of Friday's protests. Hundreds of protesters have left Friday prayers and are heading to the U.S. Embassy in a neighborhood in Tunis, journalist Zeid Mhirsi reported. There is a strong Tunisian police presence in the area.

Hard-line Muslims known as Salafists were among the demonstrators, who were in pickup trucks and on foot.

[Updated at 9:54 a.m. ET] Ron Hawkins, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum, said that because Friday is a non-work day, most of the staff and Embassy personnel are not there as protesters gather outside the building. As far as security goes, Marines are assigned there, and local police officers were sent there earlier Friday as a precautionary measure, Hawkins said.

Earlier Friday, a fire was set at the vacated German Embassy as protesters gathered there. The protest at the U.S. building so has been peaceful, journalist Isma'il Kamal Kushkush said (see 8:42 a.m. entry).

[Updated at 9:31 a.m. ET] More information from Khartoum, Sudan: Protesters have gathered outside the U.S. Embassy there, a journalist at the scene said. The demonstration is peaceful so far.

Earlier today, protesters in Khartoum set the German Embassy on fire and also rallied outside the nearby UK Embassy (see 8:42 a.m. entry). The German Embassy was vacated before the protests.

[Updated at 9:24 a.m. ET] Lebanon has joined the list of Friday protests. One person was killed by police in Tripoli, Lebanon, after a group of armed men stormed a KFC restaurant amid protests in the city, Lebanese security forces told CNN.

About 40 armed men were spotted among 3,000 protesters, officials said.

Gen. Bassam Ayoubi, of the Lebanese internal security forces, said a group of armed men stormed the KFC and asked people to leave. Ayoubi said that the armed men then set the KFC on fire, at which time police arrived and began to fire at the armed men, killing at least one of them. Twenty-five were injured, he said, but it wasn't clear which of the injured were on which side.

[Updated at 9:09 a.m. ET] The German Embassy in Khartoum, Sudan, was vacated before the protest that reportedly has set the building on fire, the German Foreign Ministry said.

The German Foreign Ministry also said that the Sudanese ambassador to Germany has been called in to the German
Foreign Ministry in Berlin to discuss the situation in Khartoum.

Journalist Isma'il Kamal Kushkush told CNN about 30 minutes ago that the German Embassy in Khartoum was on fire after protests against the online anti-Islam video.

[Updated at 9 a.m. ET] An update on protests in Egypt, while we await more information about the burning German Embassy in Sudan:

Fifteen protesters have been injured in Egypt on Friday, according to Dr. Mohamed Sultan, a health ministry spokesman. Most of the injuries were related to inhaling tear gas or getting it into their eyes.

Two hundred twenty-four people have been injured this week in protests in Cairo, 11 of whom have been hospitalized, Sultan said.

On Friday, officers armed with shields and batons, backed by an armored personnel carrier, rushed a group of several hundred protesters shortly after dawn to quell a violent demonstration that had raged through the night in Cairo. After the rush, a smaller number of demonstrators regrouped near the U.S. Embassy across from police lines, and stones and tear-gas canisters once again crossed in the air. Police fired rubber bullets at protesters. The army began constructing a wall of concrete blocks about 10 feet high across the road leading to the embassy.

Hours later, in the afternoon, youths climbed the newly built wall and threw rocks at police, according to eyewitnesses. Security forces fired tear gas and used water cannons to hold off the rioters. But 100 to 200 hundred meters away in Tahrir Square, a few thousand protesters congregated peacefully.

[Updated at 8:42 a.m. ET] The German Embassy in Khartoum, Sudan was on fire Friday after protests against the online anti-Islam video, a journalist on the scene, Isma'il Kamal Kushkush, said. No embassy personnel were believed to be inside.

The UK Foreign Office also says protesters were demonstrating Friday outside its embassy, next to the German Embassy, in Khartoum.

[Updated at 8:35 a.m. ET] U.S. embassies aren't the only Western diplomatic posts facing protests on Friday. Protests have been reported outside the UK and German embassies in Khartoum, Sudan.

UK Foreign Office Spokesperson Mandy Heffield confirmed there is an ongoing demonstration outside the British Embassy in Khartoum. Sudanese police are on the scene, Heffield said.

Earlier, a journalist on the scene said thousands of protesters had marched on the German Embassy in Khartoum, and that a few protesters jumped onto the embassy grounds and pulled down the German flag. Riot police fired tear gas, causing the protesters to pull back, the journalist said.

[Updated at 8:30 a.m. ET] Thousands of protesters marched on the German Embassy in Khartoum, Sudan, on Friday, as protests against a short online film mocking the Prophet Mohammed swept across the Muslim world, a journalist on the scene said.

A few demonstrators were able to jump into the embassy grounds and pull down the German flag, Isma'il Kamal Kushkush said. Riot police fired tear gas, causing the protesters to pull back. The German Embassy is next to the British Embassy, which did not seem to be the focus of the demonstration.

[Updated at 7:40 a.m. ET] Afghanistan saw its first anti-American protest over the film Friday, as hundreds of demonstrators burned a U.S. flag and chanted "Death to America" and "We condemn the film."

The demonstration in Nangarhar province lasted about an hour and ended peacefully, said Zia Abdulzai, a spokesman for the governor of the eastern province.

[Posted 7:31 a.m. ET] Yemeni police opened fire Friday to stop protesters from reaching the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa, witnesses told CNN.

Meanwhile, Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood canceled nationwide demonstrations Friday, except for one in Cairo's Tahrir Square against the controversial film about the Prophet Mohammed, the group said in a Twitter message.

Post by: ,
Filed under: Egypt • Lebanon • Libya • Sudan • Tunisia
soundoff (3,687 Responses)
  1. VR13

    On picture 54, did you notice a woman wearing glasses over her burqua? The most idiotic look one can imagine.

    September 14, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mr. G.

    This bunch at CNN is spinning this to blame the movie. It's not the movie. It's the State Departments blunder. 20 plus countries are roiting. Obama will call Clinton to ask him what to do. Nice going Hillary in protecting the Embassies.

    September 14, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • mkat2

      How does it feel, Obama, to greet the dead Americans at Andrews AFB right now, knowing YOU were too busy campaigning to read the Intel reports or to allow the guards at the embassy to have live amo in their guns?!! Explain THAT to the dead American's families!

      September 14, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. GBullfrog

    Time for some refreshing, cleansing thermonuclear fire. Islam is just another silly religion, but it's supporters have a mad-dog tendency about them. Roast them in their sleep, there's too many people on the planet anyway.

    September 14, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • TechTom

      Man it is that kind of talk that we don't need. It is a few crazy people on both sides that ruin it for everyone. Radicals on both sides need to learn to be with peace with each other. Sometimes I wonder why Man kind thinks it is so evolved when we just go around and kill each other. May God or whomever you believe in have mercy on our souls.

      September 14, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • GBullfrog

      I disagree. There are in fact too many people on the planet for sustainability. Might as well be selective about who gets kicked off the island.

      September 14, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • LMA Off, Idiots

      Pull your head out of the sand TechTom, we need to end this for the future of mankind, unless your in to little girls and opressing eberyones freedom of thought. I don't want a war, but at some point you have to say enough is enough. The aga old question; Where are these moderate Muslims denouncing these actions being commited in the name of Islam? The answer is nowhere, because they quitely agree and are part of the Islamic construct of taking over the world.

      September 14, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  4. MIke Morgan

    It is totally unacceptable to bring home diplomats in caskets . . . and for our President to do nothing more than put on a happy face and flap his lips. Why do we allow thugs to kill our diplomats and citizens?

    September 14, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • pdough

      Couldn't agree with you more. Can you imagine if Reagan was still President?

      September 14, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • strangways

      and what should we do – declare war and invade? the Middle East would explode. How'd you feel about $12.99 per gallon? What O SHOULD do is round up every "filmmaker" responsible for this and hit them w second degree murder charges at the very least. I don't think the full story of who they are is out yet...

      September 14, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Moe Hammond

    Maybe they are upset that their women have beards?

    September 14, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  6. irock

    we should air drop crates of grenades to them and stand back and watch um go

    September 14, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Phil

    Sooooo is Hilary gonna stop apologizing and is our president gonna do something as U.S. Embassy's all over the middle east are being attacked? Yes lets stand by and watch as our country and security overseas is threatened & degraded! Obama is making our country look like a scared little boy!

    September 14, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Katie

    does anybody remember Iran riot kill and occupied American embassy in 1970's? that happended under Jmmy Carter's Admi.
    Now it is much more serious than that. Obama is doing nothing. His foreign policy is total failure. Why does his Admi investigates or probe the movie who made? he wants apologize to Islamic riots, to who killed american Ambassador.
    I'm very farsighted for his weakness. Can he handle it? Not even Clinton can handle the Islamic attack well in USS Cole bombing in 2000. 17 sailors were killed and 39 injured.
    Somebody was right: why should we give money to our enemies? We throw billions each year to many Islamic countries. At same time, Many of our fellow Americans do not have job, can not afford to go to college, cannot have good retirement. Stop support our enemies using our blood money.

    September 14, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  9. sigmond seamonster

    I thought that Colonel Sanders was a COLONEL? Where the heck was he was when all this was going down?

    September 14, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • ECassious2

      The best post on here. Very nice.

      September 14, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  10. way22go

    What happens to our Muslim friends? We spent so many missiles to help them achieve freedom and democracy.

    September 14, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Heywood

      your so right. send them a bill for the bombs the fuel and the embassy. pay us in cash or oil, but you must pay.

      September 14, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  11. greasepen

    The main complaint is they are poor. Yet they will spend the money on a flag to burn. They are poor, yet they are spending the working hours demolishing buildings there to give them work. They just haven't evolved to the point where they understand that life sucks sometimes. It's not a "have vs. have not" deal. They don't want anything. Beat the wife, beat the girls, be corrupt... This is not a political issue for the U.S. We've see that with Bush (fail) and we've seen that with Obama (fail). Your morons with the political agenda, please shut up. You know nothing of the region and your ideas, all of your ideas, failed. Much like talking to the crazy neighbor who won't cut down her tree because the birds "love it"... just walk away. But please knock off the politics/racism/religious-fervor. We left a nation to get away from this. We left many nations to get away from it. Please evolve.

    September 14, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Tori

    This is not about a movie, This is about policies the Obama administration put into place and the killing of the leaders of there country. Obama has tried to turn this into a movie that movie has been out for a long time and no one watched it. Hillary knew the unrest was going on and ignored it. I am ashamed of our President and Sec of State and all obamas people trying to deflect like this. The first TV shots of the terroists showed that this was not about a movie. They were chanting
    "We are OSMA OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!! what does that tell you.

    September 14, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Tyler

    Ok the film, I get it they are upset, the rocket launchers ok I get that too, but you KNOW they are crazy when they burn down a KFC

    September 14, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  14. delbre

    A religious philosophy which has not been able to do a single thing about the violence; none of the muslim religious leaders are preaching calm....what does that tell you about the people and the religion? Their actions speak louder than any words i can think of.

    September 14, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • RRowan

      While we all grief on what has just recently happen, what is truly sad is that we do not do the same for others in military that gave their life for our country and do the same for them with front page news, respect, Governments condolences and make it public like we are doing here for US Ambassador Chris Stevens and the "other three" that get pushed aside. I mean no disrespect and my condolences to the family of the Ambassador but just feel the media and the government should go out of their way to do the same and pay the same respect as what is going on today in a hanger.

      September 14, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Sensible

    If they got that mad over that crappy youtube video, just wait until they watch Team America.

    September 14, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • LMA Off, Idiots

      LoL, good point! We should send a few copies to their news outlets.

      September 14, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140