WATCH: Obama Honors HIV Activists Killed in Malaysian Airlines Crash
At the end his remarks on the crash of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, President Obama paid respect to the nearly 100 passengers traveling to the 20th International AIDS Conference who lost their lives Thursday, among them Joep Lange, MD, a prominent researcher and the former president of the International AIDS Society.
Obama, who says the jet was taken down by anti-aircraft weapons operated by Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine, honored those who devoted their time on earth to helping save lives, particularly in light of the violence that resulted in the deaths of nearly 300 people on the felled jet.
“On board Malaysian Airlines Flight MH-17, there were apparently near 100 researchers and advocates traveling to an international conference in Australia dedicated to combating AIDS/HIV,” he said. “These were men and women who had dedicated their own lives to saving the lives of others, and they were taken from us in a senseless act of violence.”
“In this world today, we shouldn't forget that in the midst of conflict and killing, there are people like these, people who are focused on what can be built rather than what can be destroyed, people who are focused on how they can help people that they've never met, people that define themselves not by what makes them different from other people but by the humanity that we hold in common,” he continued. “It's important for us to lift them up and to affirm their lives. And it's time for us to heed their example.”
“The United States of America is going to continue to stand for the basic principle that people have the right to live as they choose, that nations have the right to determine their own destiny, and that when terrible events like this occur, the international community stands on the side of justice and on the side of truth,” he concluded.
Watch the full address below.