Remembering the Diplomats on Memorial Day


“Remembering the Diplomats on Memorial Day,” a piece I wrote last year. This is dedicated to the Foreign Service officers we lost in the past year – Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, and Anne Smedinghoff. This year, please remember the diplomats and all civilians who serve their country on the front lines of freedom.

World Adventurers

Every year on Memorial Day, American flags are flown to honor members of the U.S. Armed Forces who died or were wounded in the line of duty. Their service is noble, and I appreciate that our country publicly acknowledges their sacrifices.

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Scant attention, however, is paid to the civilians who serve courageously in the line of fire. Diplomats and other civilians who work for the U.S. government are often placed in dangerous and unstable locales around the world. They have participated in every war and conflict since the Revolutionary War alongside their military colleagues. In some cases, the civilians stayed behind after the troops withdrew, as happened last year in Iraq. They were also stationed in places without the benefit of U.S. military support when unrest occurred, as happened in Libya, Syria, and in other countries that experienced upheaval during the Arab Spring.

Hundreds of American diplomats…

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Thoughts & Sayings (October 2012)


Here are some thoughts and sayings I posted on Twitter and/or Facebook in September. To my knowledge, I made these up (for better or for worse). Sit back, relax, and enjoy the write!

peddlingEncouraging Words

1. Keep on peddling, but don’t oversell.

2. I may bite my tongue if I say something tongue in cheek.

3. I have champagne tastes but a beer budget and had to trade my flute for a mug.

4. If technology were a pet, I would send it to obedience training.

5. After two failed attempts, I’m back to fail again.

junkTwisted Words

6. One person’s junk is another’s Chinese vessel.

In Its Own Write

7. I’ve turned a page and am headed in the write direction.

Holidays & Events

8. On Labor Day, America rests while the rest of the world labors.

9. Today at the political party convention, the candidate will deliver this month’s speech of their life.

barkRandom Musings

10. Overheard at a linguistic convention: “I speak Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish.” “Yes, but what about Finnish?”

11. I flew to the other side of the world to get away from jetlag, but it followed me.

12. My bark is worse than my bite, but I do bite.

13. Disruptive technology: The day Twitter shakes up the 140-character limit by varying it.

14. When I moved to the Southern Hemisphere, my world turned upside down.

globe

Click here to read the previous batch of Thoughts and Sayings.

Images courtesy of Microsoft.

alexthumbM.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, a collection of short stories called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories and Alexander the Salamander, a children’s story set in the Amazon. His books are available to purchase as an e-book and in print from Amazon.com and other booksellers. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2012 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

Thoughts & Sayings (August 2012)


Here are some thoughts and sayings I posted on Twitter and/or Facebook in July. To my knowledge, I made these up (for better or for worse). Sit back, relax, and enjoy the write!

Encouraging Words

  1. I’ve worked out the perfect system for getting everything done. Unfortunately, it’s prone to break down when a wrench gets thrown into it. gears
  2. Destiny is 1/4 chance and 3/4 preparation.
  3. Is it just me, or am I still who I am?
  4. Whoever put the cat in the bag really should let it out.
  5. If you are trapped in convention, you will always be conventional.
  6. Did you miss me? I didn’t. I’ve been with me the whole time.

Twisted Words

  1. stopIf you’re bored, what wood you do?
  2. It is better to be pronounced than verbose.
  3. Speaking of witch, a which can’t spell.
  4. When people ask me my sign, I usually answer, “Stop.”
  5. I do things by the seat of my pants. Sometimes I wish my jeans would quit taking so many risks.
  6. A police chef is the officer in charge of preparing the food.

Holidays & Events

  1. Perhaps the mascot of this year’s Summer Olympics in London should be “Sunshine.”
  2. Happy July 4th + 10! Thank goodness I enjoy the freedom to wish you a belated happy American Independence Day on Bastille Day.
  3. cameraGotham, Wisconsin looks nothing like it’s portrayed in the “Batman” movies.
  4. Word has it that the sequel to Pixar’s animated film “Brave” will be called “Even Braver.”
  5. Rumor has it that in the sequel to “The Amazing Spider-Man,” Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire will duke it out over whose girlfriend, Gwen Stacy or Mary Jane Watson, is more awesome.

Random Musings

  1. Every place in the world looks like someplace else.
  2. Spotted at the Customer Service counter of a major retailer: “Many happy returns.”
  3. I’ve thought about being a stand-up comedian, but I prefer to sit down.
  4. Why do subtitles say “English for the Hearing Impaired” when every other language is listed by name only?
  5. One literary benefit of Twitter is that it teaches one to be succinct.
  6. I can get 50,000 Twitter followers in 2 minutes! Ask me how, but please don’t expect an answer.
  7. twitterFollow me and get 5,000 Twitter followers instantly! Never mind that I only have 3,000. You can borrow some if you’d like.
  8. Prolific tweeter seeks tweeters for long-term follow on Twitter. Must tweet good content. If interested, press the “Follow” button.

In Its Own Write

26. I probably should write something now. “Something.” There, that should do it.

writing

Images courtesy of Microsoft and Twitter.

Click here to read the previous batch of Thoughts and Sayings.

buythumbM.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain and a collection of short stories called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories. His books are available as an e-book and in print on Amazon.com and other booksellers. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2012 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

Remembering the Diplomats on Memorial Day


Every year on Memorial Day, American flags are flown to honor members of the U.S. Armed Forces who died or were wounded in the line of duty. Their service is noble, and I appreciate that our country publicly acknowledges their sacrifices.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Scant attention, however, is paid to the civilians who serve courageously in the line of fire. Diplomats and other civilians who work for the U.S. government are often placed in dangerous and unstable locales around the world. They have participated in every war and conflict since the Revolutionary War alongside their military colleagues. In some cases, the civilians stayed behind after the troops withdrew, as happened last year in Iraq. They were also stationed in places without the benefit of U.S. military support when unrest occurred, as happened in Libya, Syria, and in other countries that experienced upheaval during the Arab Spring.

Hundreds of American diplomats have died in the line of duty. Their deaths were caused by natural disasters, diseases, killings, assassinations, and trying to save others’ lives. Two memorial plaques in the entrance hall of the State Department list the names of the 231 diplomats who have died in the line of duty since William Palfrey was lost at sea in 1780. More recently, Brian Adkins was killed in his home in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 2007, and David Foy was killed in 2006 by a car bomb in Karachi, Pakistan. This figure does not include the 52 Americans held hostage for 444 days during the 1979-80 Iran Hostage Crisis when students and militants overran the then-U.S. Embassy in Tehran. The International News offers a sobering analysis of the history of violence against American diplomats, reporting that 111 have been killed or assassinated since 1780. According to the State Department, more ambassadors than U.S. generals or admirals have been killed since World War II. The U.S. Diplomacy Project tells the tales of diplomats who were put in harm’s way while serving overseas.

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA         While 231 may not sound like a large number, consider that at any given time there are only about 11,000 American diplomats versus the more than 2.5 million members of the U.S. Armed Forces. A rough comparison of casualties during the Iraq War in 2008 revealed that personnel working for the State Department in Iraq during 2003-08 had a casualty rate of about 50% that of their military counterparts. As the events of September 11, 2001, showed, you don’t have be involved in active combat to be a casualty of war and terrorism.

Civilians who serve our country overseas work for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and other U.S. Government agencies or as contractors. Many support the U.S. military and diplomatic corps in hostile and dangerous conditions. They are unsung heroes who are rarely featured on the evening news or in movies. They labor in obscurity to protect the freedoms that Americans enjoy.

The Uniform Monday Holiday Act (Public Law 90-363) set aside Memorial Day as a federal holiday to be celebrated each year on the last day of May. The law, however, does not specify who or what it commemorates. That’s up to you to decide. In the minds of many Americans, Memorial Day is a day to honor the U.S. Armed Forces, but this was not always so. The holiday known in the late 1800’s as Decoration Day recognized the veterans of the Union Army who fought in the American Civil War. After World War I, the generally accepted meaning of the day was to honor all Americans, military or civilian, who died in any war. This changed following World War II. It’s time to return to the days when we acknowledged the efforts of all who serve their country bravely in and out of uniform.

This Memorial Day, amid the barbeques, car races, fireworks, and gatherings, remember the diplomats and other civilians who faithfully serve their country in harm’s way.

Happy Memorial Day. God bless America, and God bless those who serve our country.

NFATC

Click here to read my 2007 post on Memorial Day.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of State. The photos belong to the author.

clip_image001M.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain. His collection of short stories called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories available as an e-book and in print on Amazon.com. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2012 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.