Please take a moment to read Secretary Kerry's words regarding the loss of a fellow Foreign Service Officer Anne Smedinghoff in Kabul, Afghanistan:
"Yesterday, we lost a very bright and brave young woman, a young diplomat. We
lost her to a horrific attack in Afghanistan. And today, our hearts are broken.
Anne Smedinghoff was 25 years old, Mr. Foreign Minister, and I think that in
this tragedy, there is a stark contrast for all of the world to see between two
very different sets of values.
On the one hand, you have Anne, a selfless, idealistic young woman who woke
up yesterday morning and set out to bring textbooks to schoolchildren, to bring
them knowledge, children she had never met, to help them to be able to build a
future. And Anne and those with her were attacked by Taliban terrorists who woke
up that day not with a mission to educate or to help, but with a mission to
destroy. A brave American was determined to brighten the light of learning
through books written in the native tongue of the students that she had never
met, but whom she felt compelled to help. And she was met by cowardly terrorists
determined to bring darkness and death to total strangers.
These are the challenges that our citizens face, not just in Afghanistan but
in many dangerous parts of the world, where a nihilism, an empty approach, is
willing to take life rather than give it. What did that terrorist accomplish?
What did his cowardice and his nihilism buy him? The grief of parents who now
have to bury their children. It also brought the strengthened resolve of a
nation, a diplomatic corps, a military, all resources determined to continue the
hard work of helping people to help themselves.
So yesterday, we saw the vilest form of terrorism, but as I hope the world
will have learned by now, and if it hasn’t, it will over time, America does not
and will not cower before terrorism. We are going to forge on, we’re going to
step up, we’re going to continue to do the work that we do to try to improve the
lives of other people. We put ourselves in harm’s way because we believe in
bringing hope to our brothers and sisters all over the world, knowing that we
share universal human values with people all over the world of dignity, of
opportunity, of progress.
So it is now up to us to determine what the legacy of this tragedy will be.
And where others seek to destroy, we intend to show a stronger determination in
order to brighten our shared future, even when others try to darken it with
violence. That was Anne’s mission when she woke up yesterday morning, and it
will be ours every single day from this morning through the next as long as God
gives us the ability to make that choice.
So I want to emphasize that Anne was everything that is right about our
Foreign Service. She was smart and capable, committed to our country. I had the
privilege of meeting her, Mr. Foreign Minister, just a few days ago. When I was
in Afghanistan, she was part of my team. And she was someone who worked hard and
put her life on the line so that others could live a better life. Our hearts go
out to Anne’s mother and father, with whom I spoke yesterday, and to the two
sisters and the brother who survive her, to her friends and colleagues at home
in Chicago, in Caracas where she served her first tour of duty in the Foreign
Service, and in Kabul as well as around the world. And we also express our
sadness and our condolences to every member of the United States Department of
State with whom I am today privileged to work and call colleagues."
This has been excerpted from his remarks to Turkish Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu.