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 You are in: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice > Former Secretaries of State > Former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell > Speeches and Remarks > 2003 > May

Remarks at American Foreign Service Association Memorial Plaque Ceremony on Foreign Affairs Day

Secretary Colin L. Powell
With Agency for International Development Administrator Andrew S. Natsios
C Street Lobby, Washington, DC
May 9, 2003

(10:20 a.m. EDT)

Secretary Powell presided at the AFSA Memorial Plaque ceremony where six names were added to the memorial wall, May 9, 2003. [State Department photo by Michael Gross]Mr. Ambassador, Administrator Natsios, other distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, members of the family, welcome. It is traditional during our annual Foreign Service -- now Foreign Affairs Day observances to pause in remembrance of colleagues who have given their lives in the line of duty. It is fitting that these Memorial Plaques grace our lobby. They remind all of us who work here, and visitors from across the globe who enter this hall, that ours is a mission of service: service to the nation, service to each other, service to mankind.

It is a challenging mission that always demands our excellence. It demands the highest standards of integrity, the highest standards of performance. It is a mission that brings to each and every one of us a deep sense of satisfaction that we are helping people around the world to a better life.

It is also a mission that frequently entails hardship, and often, all too often, it is a mission that carries great risks, for surely, as our fellow Americans in uniform do, the dedicated men and women of the Department of State family serve and sacrifice on the front lines of freedom.

Since we last gathered for Foreign Affairs Day, six new names have been placed on our Memorial Plaques. One of them belongs to Larry Foley, who was murdered by al-Qaida terrorists just last October in Amman, Jordan. The other names belong to colleagues who sacrificed in decades past but whose service we honor to this day.

Our hearts go out to the loved ones of all of our fallen. Your loss has been the deepest. The men and women whose names are inscribed on these Memorial Tablets were our friends and colleagues, but they were your fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, husbands and wives, sisters and brothers; and we are very touched that you have come to share this day with us, your extended State Department family.

The men and women whose names are etched before you had busy lives and dreams for the years ahead. They did not expect their names to be added to these rolls of honored dead. They did not expect to leave the people they loved so soon. But on the day that they died, each one of them got out of bed and set forth on their chosen mission of service, service to their fellow citizens and to the values that we hold dear and share with the rest of the world, and service to the men, women and children of other lands whose hopes for a better future are linked to ours.

The souls of our fallen abide with God. Their memories reside among us as a blessing. As we pause this day to remember them, we rededicate ourselves to the life of service that they led and that we, too, have chosen. May we honor their lives each day by the way that we live our own.

I would like at this time now to reveal the plaque, and then I would ask Administrator Natsios to say a word, and then I will read the names of those who have fallen.

(The Plaque is unveiled.)

SECRETARY POWELL: May I ask Administrator Natsios to come say a word, please.

ADMINISTRATOR NATSIOS: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. We are here on Foreign Affairs Day to honor six men who perished in the service of their country. They were our friends and colleagues, quiet patriots and heroes whose lives were dedicated to helping others and advancing the ideals that made America great.

Three of them were from the USAID family. For Oscar Curtis Holder and for Sidney Jacques, an honor long overdue them has now been rightfully bestowed. Their widows and children are here today.

Larry Foley was my friend, a man who went about his work with the joy that everyone who knew him felt. His death was a tragedy which still affects us all.

This event today reminds us of the danger the Foreign Service faces and the sacrifice its officers are often called upon to make. We are adding six names to the Foreign Service Officers Association Plaque today, six who perished on the front lines of our diplomatic service. We will not forget them or the great cause in which they served. Their work is our work now, and we can honor them best by doing it well.

Thank you, Mr. Secretary.

SECRETARY POWELL: I will now read the names of our fallen that have been engraved on the Memorial Plaques since our last Foreign Affairs Day ceremony:

Laurence M. Foley;
Jerry V. Cook;
Richard Arthur Coulter;
Howard V. Funk, Jr.;
Oscar Curtis Holder;
Sidney B. Jacques.

Released on May 9, 2003

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