Earlier this month the American Foreign Service Association held its annual ceremony honoring the Foreign Servicemen and women who lost their lives in the line of duty. Their names are eched into memorial plaques on the wall near the entrance to the State Depatment.
This year sadly saw two more names etched onto the memorial wall: Steven Thomas Stefani, IV and John Michael Granville. “Tom” Stefani, a U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service employee, on voluntary assignment with the Foreign Agricultural Service in Afghanistan, was serving as an agricultural adviser on a Provincial Reconstruction Team when he was killed in an explosion on October 4th, 2007 in Ghazni Province.
While serving as a Democracy and Governance Officer with USAID in Sudan, John Michael Granville was killed in Khartoum on January 1st, 2008, along with his Sudanese driver, Abdelrahman Abbas Rahama, when their vehicle came under fire.
At the ceremony Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte read some of the remarks of one of Mr. Granville’s Cameroonian friends made at his funeral:
“One of John’s Cameroonian friends said this at John’s funeral, and I quote: “John did not stand from a distance to watch us. He was one of us. He spoke our language, ate our food, observed and practiced our traditions, respected our ways, and worked with us, even when he disagreed with us. He always placed himself in the shoes of the people he worked and lived with. He tried to see the world through our eyes, through their personal experiences.”
President Bush sent along some kind words:
“I send greetings to those gathered for Foreign Affairs Day at the Department of State. Those who serve in the Foreign Service and the Civil Service and as Foreign Service nationals are performing their duties during a defining moment in our country’s history. Through hard work and determination they advance America’s founding ideals. As emissaries to the world, these fine individuals bring pride to our nation and help extend hope around the world…”