I suspect that almost everyone who is reading this has heard about the attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi and that Ambassador Chris Stevens, Foreign Service Specialist Sean Smith, and two other Americans were killed in the attacks on the Consulate in Benghazi.
I went to bed yesterday having read that there had been protests in Cairo and that protesters had gotten inside the compound and torn down the U.S. flag, and that there had been attacks on the Consulate in Benghazi. At that time, there were reports that an American might have been killed, but the details still seemed unclear. When I woke up this morning and checked my e-mail, I had several e-mails and saw many Facebook posts about the death of Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans. I turned on the television and watched and listened to the news as I got ready for work.
I went in to work like any other day, though a couple of minutes before I got to the Embassy I realized that I’d forgotten to put on my watch and a ring that I usually wear since I’d been a little distracted by watching the news while getting ready for work. My day was fairly normal and I went to meetings, read information on innovation and intellectual property to continue to get up to speed on my portfolio, spoke with my realtor about my apartment, read and sent e-mails, and so on. I talked with some of my coworkers, some of whom had known Ambassador Stevens or Sean Smith. Others didn’t know them but had other friends working in Libya and Cairo.
I don’t currently know anyone serving in Libya or Egypt, but I know people who have served in both places and people who are scheduled to serve in both places soon. While we are spread all around the world, the Foreign Service is relatively small and it usually only takes two or so degrees of separation to link any two Foreign Service members. So, attacks like these, even when halfway around the world and when you don’t know those directly involved, really feel like attacks on your neighbor down the street.
So, it’s very hard for me to find words to express how I’ve felt today. Suffice to say that I’m deeply saddened by the loss of Ambassador Stevens, Sean Smith, and the other two Americans killed and am keeping their friends and family in my thoughts and prayers. I feel a lot of other things too, but it’s impossible for me to find the words to articulate those feelings now.
Edit: Apologies if you’ve gotten this multiple times or if it posts multiple times. Posterous seems to be acting up and I can’t tell if things are posting.