Remembering those we lost. Remembering those who survived. Remembering this awful day and its protracted aftermath.
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.
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.
Shattered Glass–The Story of a Marine Embassy Guard is non-fiction by the Marine standing Post as the attackers breached our gate.
For those of you who continue to walk this overlooked beat: we remember.