Sunday, August 26, 2012

A-100 Journal 6- Swearing In

After a week of interagency training, post research and field trips, our swearing in was last Friday. For me, I was worried that the event would seem very anticlimactic after Flag Day. After all, we knew where we were going. I am happy to report that I was wrong.

I had family coming in from the West Coast, and getting them set up to come into the building for the ceremony took some doing. We don't get to see each other often enough, so every time is special. That they came out to see me was very cool. Then on Friday I met them outside main State, got them in and seated, and passed the time with them and my classmates. The ceremony began promptly on time.

After some remarks that were well-received on what we were getting ready to do and why, our names were called one-by-one in alphabetical order along with our first posts. After we were all standing, a high muckety-muck in the Department administered the oath.

This makes the 3rd time I have taken this oath of service, having joined the Navy and been admitted to a Federal District Court previously. As was mentioned by the keynote speaker, in our country our public servants take an oath not to a ruler, or a land, but to a Constitution. We are basically swearing to protect and defend an idea. I cannot say those words and make that pledge without it affecting me.

I have offered myself to my country in service, and that offer has been accepted. I have bound my fate and my family's to what those in authority decide for me. Because my country sends me to places all around the world (starting in Indonesia!), things can happen that affect our fellow citizens, our host country, and ourselves. There are no guarantees of safety offered for this. It is a risk you take in order to serve. 

As the days have passed since the ceremony, I have found myself stopping what I am doing, replaying the ceremony in my mind, and once again wondering how I have been brought to this place. I am humbled and grateful. I am now a diplomat representing the United States, and I mean to do my job to the best of my ability no matter what.

One day you may find yourself in a strange land and a victim of crime, natural disaster, or political unrest. You will need someone to help that knows the place, the people, and the process and has the authority to render aid. Me or someone like me will be there, because that is what we are charged by the State Department to do. We took an oath on it.

-S

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