December 06, 2004

Remembering those we lost. Remembering those who survived. Remembering this awful day and its  protracted aftermath.

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It’s the aftermath that sticks most. The long period that stretched through weeks when our broken mission pulled itself together again. We pulled ourselves up from piles of ash and dust; from the pulverized concrete and glass shattered by bullets fired into the chancery; from the smoldering heap of a Marine house burned to the ground.

I remember the rifles mounted on alien tripods behind sandbags and concertina wire that popped up around the compound with the arrival of a Marine detachment. I remember the flickering lights along darkened corridors that cast jittery shadows for weeks as we made our way through routine in an effort to restore ourselves to normal.

I came upon this essay about the day itself in the third edition of Inside a U.S. Embassy (2011).  I don’t need to read to remember, or to know that every day our diplomats put their lives on the line. Some wear a bigger target on their backs than others; some for longer periods. But we all serve in harm’s way, at some point.

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Two more pieces worth reading. Two Pumps for the Body Man is a satire about diplomatic life on the front line of the war on terror.

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Shattered Glass–The Story of a Marine Embassy Guard is non-fiction by the Marine standing Post as the attackers breached our gate.

GM Shattered Glass

For those of you who continue to walk this overlooked beat: we remember.

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