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Condoleezza Rice at American Foreign Service Assoc

Remarks at American Foreign Service Association's Memorial Plaque Ceremony

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
C Street Lobby
Washington, DC
May 5, 2006

(10:25 a.m. EDT)


SECRETARY RICE: Thank you. Good afternoon. It is an honor to be here today with friends and colleagues and families of four great Americans whose service we recognize and whose sacrifice we salute. Each year we gather together on Foreign Affairs Day as one State Department family to commemorate those diplomats who gave their lives to help freedom and hope to prevail throughout the world.

I would now like to present a message from our Commander-in-Chief, President George W. Bush. The message reads as follows:

"I send greetings to those gathered on Foreign Affairs Day to celebrate the many achievements of the members of the Foreign Service, Civil Service and Foreign Service Nationals. Across our nation and around the world, members of the Foreign Service, Civil Service and Foreign Service Nationals work to improve lives, advance prosperity and protect our homeland. And as they support our country, these individuals make great sacrifices, and of course some have paid the ultimate price.

"On this day, allow me and all of us here to pay tribute to those who served in harm's way to build a safer and better world. We honor the lives of Foreign Service members who lost their lives this past year, remembering Barbara Heald, Keith Taylor, Stephen Sullivan and David Foy for their dedication to duty and unwavering loyalty to country. Their devotion reflects the true spirit of America and we will always remember them.

"I appreciate the members of the American Foreign Service Association for their support of the men and women who face danger to protect our citizens. Americans are grateful to all those who are serving on the front line of freedom and I commend the members of the Foreign Service and Civil Service and Foreign Service Nationals for their commitment to our nation. Your vigilance and bravery help to ensure our country's security and to keep America strong.

"Laura and I send our best wishes."

Dedicated Americans who choose to join our Foreign and Civil Service understand the mission on which they embark and they freely accept the sacrifices entailed by service in dangerous and difficult and distant locations. It is fitting that we honor them on this day, a time to renew our commitment to our fellow citizens serving abroad and a time to reflect on the sacrifices of our fallen comrades. It is with great sadness that we add the names of four fallen heroes to the Memorial Plaque today.

I would like to take this time to recognize their contributions, to recall their character and to honor their sacrifice.

Barbara Heald answered the call of duty. She knew her skills could be useful to Iraq's reconstruction and was on her third tour of duty working for the army's project and contracting office when she was killed in an attack. Barbara's commitment to the success of the Iraqi people was evident and admirable. As her closest Iraqi friend told the Heald family, "She sacrificed her soul for the sake of helping the Iraqi people. Her first priority was just to serve the Iraqi people."

Barbara served her country as well. And she did so with pride and it is an honor to welcome Barbara's brothers, John and Eric, and her sister Margaret. Would you please stand so that we can acknowledge you?

Navy Lieutenant Commander Keith Taylor worked together with Barbara and he was a victim of the same attack in which she was killed. Keith was a man of unrelenting commitment and unceasing compassion. He played an invaluable role in Iraq's reconstruction and I'm told that he spent what little downtime he had with wounded American soldiers. These men and women looked forward to Keith's visits, especially the slippers and the robes he would bring them, courtesy of a charity he founded.

Keith was one of our finest and he leaves behind his wife Diana and their three daughters. I'd like to recognize Keith's mother and father, George and Edith Taylor, who are here with us today. If you would stand so that we can recognize you.

Stephen Sullivan, a Diplomatic Security Officer known to his fellow special agents at "Shamrock", was killed in Mosul, Iraq in an attack on his protective detail. Stephen defined his life through his service for fellow citizens and his dedication to America's mission: as a Marine, as a sailor in the Navy, and as a distinguished agent in our Diplomatic Security Service. He served with honor and distinction in places like Afghanistan, where he personally helped to protect President Hamid Karzai. Stephen's sister, Shauna Oliveri is here with us today. Shauna, will you stand so that we can acknowledge you.

The fourth colleague we honor today is David Foy, who was killed in an attack outside the consulate where he served in Karachi, Pakistan. Following a distinguished career in the Navy, David's public spirit led him to join the Foreign Service. He is described by many as a southern storyteller who loved a round of golf, a night of dancing and a game of poker. David was also a patriot. As one friend explained, "Deep down, David was about God, country, community and family." "This is my kind of hero," he said. I couldn't have said it better, and I want to thank David's wife, Donna, and their four daughters for their presence here today. Will you stand so that we can acknowledge you.

Throughout the world, American diplomats like Barbara, Keith, Stephen and David are helping foreign citizens to enjoy the blessings of liberty, to better their own lives and to transform their own futures. Because of their service, our country is safer and our world is more peaceful. The legacy of the heroes we commemorate today must serve to invigorate all of us who continue to advance freedom's lofty charge for which our friends and colleagues gave their lives.

To their families, please accept our sympathies, but also our gratitude, as we thank and remember those who served this nation.

We will now unveil the Plaque.

(The Plaque was unveiled.)

SECRETARY RICE: Barbara Heald, Iraq, 2005. Keith Taylor, Iraq, 2005. Stephen Sullivan, Iraq, 2005. David Foy, Pakistan, 2006.

Let us pause for a moment of silence.

(A moment of silence was observed.)

SECRETARY RICE: May their memories and their dedication and their commitment forever be with us to strengthen us in our resolve to do the work of freedom. 2006/460

Released on May 5, 2006

ENDS


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