Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Foreign Affairs Day and Plaque Ceremony

The AFSA Memorial Plaque Ceremony is held on Foreign Affairs Day to honor Foreign Service personnel who have lost their lives while serving their country overseas in the line of duty or under heroic or other inspirational circumstances. This year, the ceremony will be held on Friday, May 1 at 10:25 a.m., in the C St. lobby of the State Department in front of the west plaque.

Secretary Hillary Clinton is scheduled to preside over this year's ceremony. She will read a message from President Obama and pay her respects to the families of the employees whose names will be added to the plaque, bringing the total to 231.

Brian Adkins was a first-tour State Department Foreign Service Officer who was killed on January 31, 2009 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where he was serving as a consular officer at the U.S. Embassy. Brian was a graduate of George Washington University, where he completed both his undergraduate and graduate studies. He graduated summa cum laude from the Elliott School of International Affairs in 2005. He joined the State Department after receiving his masters degree in 2007 and was assigned to Ethiopia. Mr. Adkins would have turned 26 on Feb. 2, 2009, the day that friends received word of his death. He was a native of Columbus, Ohio and is survived by his parents, John and Christine Adkins, his sister Tiffany and his brother Michael, as well as his maternal and paternal grandparents.

Felix Russell Engdahl (July 28, 1907-May 14, 1942), better known during his life as Russ Engdahl, joined the Foreign Service on December 16, 1930. After serving as Vice Consul in Port-au-Prince and Calcutta, Engdahl was assigned to Shanghai in October 1935. He was promoted to Consul and, in late 1941, traveled to Hong Kong on courier duty. He was captured by the Japanese not long after the fall of Hong Kong in late December 1941, along with several other members of the Foreign Service and sent to the Stanley Internment Camp. Engdahl died in the camp on May 14, 1942, a few months before all Americans in the camp were repatriated. His death was accidental, caused by a fall down some stairs while in the prison.

Thomas Waldron (May 21, 1814-September 8, 1844) was appointed as the first U.S. Consul to Hong Kong on July 21, 1843. This was a recess appointment and he was later confirmed by the Senate on May 17, 1844. He arrived in Hong Kong in early February 1844. He traveled to Macau on an official visit in September 1844 where he died of cholera. He is buried in the Old Protestant Cemetery in Macau.

Edmund Roberts (July 29, 1784-June 12, 1836) was appointed as Special Agent on January 26, 1832. President Jackson tasked him to negotiate commercial treaties with Muscat, Siam and Cochin China. Later in 1832, he was also asked to negotiate a treaty with Japan. In 1832, Roberts negotiated treaties between the United States and Siam and Muscat. In March 1835, Roberts left the United States on a mission to Cochin China, Siam and Japan. While in Siam, Roberts contracted dysentery and died in Macau on his way to Japan. He is buried in the Old Protestant Cemetery in Macau.

The solemn ceremony offers us an opportunity to remember and honor our fallen colleagues who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country, and to remind us of the extremely dangerous and difficult conditions that our Foreign Service personnel face today in many parts of the world. Our deepest sympathies and heartfelt gratitude go out to all their loved ones.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will give the keynote address in the Dean Acheson Auditorium to the over 500 retirees who will be attending this year's Foreign Affairs Day, prior to the Plaque Ceremony.

Following the conclusion of Foreign Affairs Day at 3:00 p.m., everyone is invited to attend AFSAs FAD Reception, from 3-5 p.m. at the newly renovated AFSA headquarters, 2101 E Street NW. The AFSA Scholarship winners will be announced during the reception

1 comment:

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