Local Libyan Americans welcome others to join them tonight at a candlelight vigil in Tustin to mourn the loss of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other members of the American diplomatic corps in Libya.
"The Libyan American Association of Southern California condemns the cowardly and vicious attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi," reads a statement from the group announcing the vigil.
Stevens, a 52-year-old Grass Valley native who only arrived at his Libyan post in May, consulate IT specialist Sean Smith and former Navy SEALS Glenn Doherty and Tyrone Woods of the San Diego area were killed Tuesday when protesters stormed the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
Backlash from the film Innocence of Muslims has been blamed for the attacks on consulates there, in Egypt and in Yemen, but the U.S. is investigating the possibility of a coordinated hit on Stevens because it happened on Sept. 11.
The Los Angeles-based Libyan American Association of Southern California makes clear in its statement that it is appalled by the Benghazi attack.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of our dear friend, Ambassador Stevens and his colleagues, as we grieve with the rest of the nation," reads the statement. "Ambassador Stevens worked tirelessly for the cause of the Libyan Revolution since March of 2011 when he entered Benghazi on a cargo ship. He was a strong advocate for the UN No-fly zone which protected the city of Benghazi in late March from Gaddafi's onslaught, and since then, has been a true believer in the revolution and the capacity of the Libyan people. The sacrifice of Ambassador Stevens and his colleagues will be remembered forever."
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The nonprofit group accusers the attackers of "wishing to derail the positive progress the Libyan authorities and people have made in support of democracy and freedom has resulted in the loss of those dedicated to freedom." They "call on our democratically elected officials to pursue the violent criminals responsible for this tragedy and to bring them to justice."
"This horrifying attack only strengthens our resolve to ensure that the vision which Ambassador Stevens had for Libya, and is shared by millions of Libyans and Americans alike,
comes true," continues the statement. "Those who perpetrated the attack do not share the values and ideals that inspired the February 17th Revolution and continue to shape our identity as a free nation."
The silent vigil is to be held from 7 to 9 p.m. at The District at the Tustin Legacy, 2437 Park Ave., Tustin. All are welcome to attend.