Coming Home: A Day of Milestones

Posted by John Kerry
February 4, 2013
Secretary Kerry Displays His First Diplomatic Passport During Welcome Remarks

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.

Related Content: View video of Secretary Kerry's arrival at the State Department.

Comments

Comments

Cynthia B.
|
District Of Columbia, USA
February 4, 2013

Cynthia Louise B. in Washington, D.C. writes:

God Bless You- Thank you for your incredible dedication to the country. I know you will do a fantastic job and look forward to watching "Where in the World is John Kerry."

Blessings and Peace, Paix, Pais, Pax.

Gretchen H.
|
New Hampshire, USA
February 4, 2013

Gretchen H. in New Hampshire writes:

Dear Senator Kerry:

America is lucky to have such a dedicated public servant. I hope to see both you & Theresa out there making sure our priorities continue to be addressed.

I am also hopeful that you will keep an independent mind with issues like the Keystone Pipeline, (it is bad for the environment),and maintaining President Obama's commitment to following the will of the people.

On a personal note, I am someone with a deep family history in Scotland, & I support their referendum on independence. I am sure it is a complicated matter, but hope you remain neutral on the issue.

Congratulations to you & your family, & see you on Twitter!

Paul
|
Indiana, USA
February 4, 2013

Paul in Indiana writes:

Best of luck to you Sec. Kerry! I am so glad you were chosen to be Sec of State. I know you will do a fantastic job representing the United States around the world. I am looking forward to reading your blog posts and watching your work.

Molly
|
Maryland, USA
February 4, 2013

Molly in Maryland writes:

John Kerry, only you could have filled Hillary Clinton's "heels." Good luck sir!

Jonathan B.
|
Japan
February 4, 2013

Jonathan B. in Japan writes:

Best of luck, Mr. Secretary! We are all looking forward to working with you in the great cause of American diplomacy.

Charlotte
|
Maryland, USA
February 4, 2013

Charlotte in Maryland writes:

Message to Secretary Kerry

I just viewed the video of your arrival and thought you might appreciate knowing that I found myself connecting to you in a very small yet genuine way. Your remembrance of bicycling through post war Berlin brought to mind my father’s teenage bicycle excursions of that city. You encountered war’s legacy: rubble, ruin and division. Fifteen years earlier, my dad encountered war’s preface: book burnings, hatred and fear. Different scenes, different eras, one predicated upon the other. Indelible images of failed diplomacy viewed through similarly youthful and curious eyes.

Sharing that particular story has moved me to personally wish you all the best during your time at State.

Kasha F.
|
United States
February 4, 2013

Kasha F. in the U.S.A. writes:

Welcome Secretary Kerry!

I am hopeful that you will continue former-Secretary Clinton's legacy of integrating women's rights as a top priority for all aspects of foreign policy!

All the best,
Kasha

she22
February 5, 2013

W.W. writes:

Hell-o Mr Kerry . may the world welcome another bright illuminated lobbyist ... till mankind won't revolt and remove the elite kerry is part of there won' t be any progress toward peace security and prosperitybut just false democratic prophets..

Maureen
|
Massachusetts, USA
February 5, 2013

Maureen in Massachusetts writes:

Welcome Secretary Kerry!

Savoir que vous avez des allies bien sur :)

Dan S.
|
District Of Columbia, USA
February 5, 2013

Dan S. in Washington, D.C. writes:

As a long-time Department of State employee, let me say … welcome home, Secretary Kerry! And, thank you for your encouraging words for and about Department of State employees. The staff of the State Department is also greatly looking forward to your leadership and to advancing American diplomacy today and into the future.

Your remarks on the dangers inherent in carrying out U.S. diplomacy reminded me of some comments made long ago by former Secretary of State Dean Acheson. In reflecting on the nature and risks involved in diplomatic work back in the 1950s – the era when your father and the Kerry family first became members of the State Department family – Acheson said:

"I tried to make my audience think of the Foreign Service and the State Department not as stereotypes but as people giving their whole lives to the United States, competent, courageous, devoted. Only in the last week two of our missions had been bombed ... Scores of people were serving in areas of hot war where bombs were dropping and bullets were flying, and others were serving where dangers to health were as great as bullets ... They knew their duty and did it."

Today and always, despite the danger, the employees of the State Department know well and will continue to carry out our diplomatic duties.

John P.
|
Greece
February 6, 2013

John P. in Greece writes:

Welcome Sir!

I wish you the best during your Service. Keep up SD's and the Administration's perfect policy and work for a better world!

Henry
|
United States
February 6, 2013

Henry in the U.S.A. writes:

Secretary Kerry, you are assuming your post at a difficult and challenging moment in the history of US foreign relations. President Obama has now asserted the authority to order the assassination of US citizens on foreign soil, using highly subjective criteria. My question for you is this: will the United States now recognize the right of other national governments to do the same, including on US soil? What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

Anna
|
District Of Columbia, USA
February 8, 2013

Anna in Washington, D.C. writes:

Good luck Secretary Kerry!

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