Wednesday, September 12, 2012

When Tragedy Strikes

Today was a hard day for the diplomatic community.  By now the news has been broadcast on every media outlet around the world. The U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, an information management specialist, Sean Smith, and two yet unnamed Americans were killed during an attack on the consulate in Benghazi, Libya yesterday.  That this tragedy occurred on the 11th anniversary of the deadliest terrorist attack in our nation's history was not lost on anyone.  In a word, this is heartbreaking. 

When the news was first announced last night, one American had reportedly been killed.  By the time S and I awoke this morning, it was declared that Ambassador Stevens was dead along with three others.  This is simply tragic and unspeakable.  My heart aches for their families and I am outraged and confused.  But more than anything, I want answers.  The entire diplomatic community, no, the entire country, wants answers.

How did this happen?  Was this a premeditated attack as the media is now reporting?  Who was responsible?  And was this really about some ignorant movie created for the sole purpose of inciting hatred?  Why?  Why?  Why?

Unfortunately, we may never know the answers to all those questions, but one thing will always remain perfectly clear.  Diplomats can and do risk their lives everyday to serve a country they love and believe in.  This lifestyle isn't all fancy parties in exotic locales as some would like to believe.  The brave people working in the foreign service voluntarily go into violent and dangerous countries around the world because they believe in diplomacy and because they believe in what this country stands for.  That will never change.

Yesterday's events are a stark reminder of the perilous realities of this job life we signed up for.  I hope these families can someday find peace and solace with what has happened. 

And to all those serving this country in the diplomatic corps and beyond, you should all be proud to do the jobs you do.  Because we are all so very, very grateful.  Thank you.

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