Monday, February 4, 2013

Coming Home: A Day of Milestones

Posted by John Kerry / February 04, 2013
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry displays his first diplomatic passport, while delivering welcome remarks to U.S. Department of State employees in Washington, D.C., February 4, 2013.  Secretary Kerry was issued the passport while his father served as a U.S. diplomat in Germany; Kerry’s first stamp in it was 1954 in Le Havre. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

John Kerry serves as the 68th Secretary of State of the United States.
A day of milestones -- here at what I'm learning now to call "the Mothership," they tell me this is the 5,000th blog entry on this page, and it's the first of what I hope will be many opportunities to share thoughts and occasional observations on the challenges ahead.

It's also another day of "firsts" -- the first opportunity to walk through the front doors of the Harry S Truman Building as Secretary of State

In more ways than one, it's a homecoming -- and proof that the American author who said, "You can't go home again," wasn't right about everything.

Last week, as I left the Senate, I said that institution was "in my soul," and it always will be, but I'm very proud that in many ways the Foreign Service is "in my genes" -- a personal connection passed on by my father, Richard.

His travels gave me and my siblings an up close-and-personal education in the sacrifices State Department and USAID families make every day, that when one of them is deployed, so, too, is an entire family -- literally or figuratively. So, I begin this homecoming with a personal appreciation of all that so many experience to make it possible for everyone under the State umbrella to serve, and to serve with great skill.

Not a day for a filibuster -- but I do want to underscore that I begin this journey with gratitude to all the men and women of the Civil Service, Foreign Service, and USAID who have given me and Teresa such a warm welcome. I am excited for all the work ahead.

These last difficult months, and events in Ankara in the recent days, put another exclamation mark on the dangers inherent in the diplomatic mission overseas. I pledge to make sure that our countrymen know the sacrifice the women and men of the State Department make and the risks they take to advance the interests of our nation. I look forward to supporting their efforts, doing all I can to help protect their safety, and in all of this, never forgetting where I came from: their ranks.

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