13 September 2001
And so this week, we were changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.
Celebration has been supplanted by grief - and horror has overspread hope.
The General Assembly Special Session on Children will convene, but not now. And we are left to ponder the immutability of the dark forces behind Tuesday's terrible events - the same forces that trample the most elemental notions of human rights and human dignity, turning neighbor against neighbor, national against foreigner, haves against have-nots.
We live in a world where insecurity and suffering is spreading at breathtaking speed - quickened by an upsurge in armed conflict that has already left 2 million children dead and 6 million wounded in the last decade alone.
But in these trying times, let us never forget that in every child who is born, the potentiality of the human race is born again.
My Friends, the vision of a better world enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations begins with children and the realisation of their rights. Each of us has the power to help transform the world - and make it a place where every child can grow to adulthood in health, peace and dignity.
So let us use this service of commitment to rededicate ourselves to that cherished cause - ever mindful, in the words of John F. Kennedy, that here on earth, God's work must truly be our own.