9/11 – honoring the fallen and looking at the role of diplomacy

This post is part of an archived series of blogs called The LeVine Line, written by former Ambassador Suzan G. LeVine during her time at U.S. Embassy Bern.

11 September 2015

It was an early morning in Seattle and my husband and I were carpooling  across a bridge over a lake in Seattle when the radio announcers, who are usually the epitome of cool and composed, just started repeating “Oh My God”…”Oh My God”.

That’s where we were when the plane hit the building and when the threat of foreign terrorism truly hit our nation.  I don’t know of anyone who was left unscathed that day – and of course – no one moreso than the families of the 2,977 victims and the 451 first responders who perished in New York, Pennsylvania and in Washington DC – as well as those who suffered from the aftermath of 9/11.

As I look back on that and then I look at what we do as diplomats, I can’t help but be moved by the fact that, no matter where we are in the world or what our job is within the diplomatic sphere, we are working to make sure that heinous acts like that don’t happen.  Whether it is protecting our borders through our consular activities, supporting civil society in developing nations, building democratic institutions, funding communities to counter and prevent violent extremism, and/or supporting girls education to help build economies and improve national well-being – these are just a few of the examples that we and many of our fellow diplomats from other countries do around the globe to give people a positive future.

As we take time to honor the memory of those who died, I also believe that we need to take a moment to think about what we as diplomats – but frankly – what every single person – can do to help counter the conditions in our world that foster the level and depth of hatred that led to that and other acts of terrorism.