The Foreign Service Journal, November 2011

N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 1 / F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L 7 L ETTERS Marking a Career I was very pleased to read the infor- mation regarding progress on the “For- eign Service Memorial Marker Pro- gram” in the most recent edition of the AFSA Newsletter. As I’m sure you al- ready know, this is a very special initia- tive. Not unlike preserving hard-won retirement benefits in today’s fiscal cri- sis, these special memorial markers hold far-reaching morale and esprit de corps potential for helping ensure the dignity, honor and distinction of those who have served in the United States Foreign Service. At an appropriate time, I would strongly encourage AFSA to further publicize this employment tribute to all active-duty and entry-level Foreign Service officers and specialists serving abroad and in Washington. It will be a reminder of the unique profession they belong to and the very special calling they serve. AFSA’s efforts and leadership on this front are highly commendable. Keep up the outstanding work. Timothy C. Lawson Senior FSO, retired Prachuap Khirikhan, Thailand Kook Kontrol Larry Lesser’s very amusing account of his service in New Delhi as “Hippie Control Officer” in the September Journal reminded me of a similar ex- perience I had while serving as public affairs counselor in Geneva back in the 1980s. In anticipation of the first Reagan- Gorbachev summit there, I designated a “Kook Kontrol Officer” (officially known as the NGO Liaison Officer) to deal with the many activists descending on us for the event. All these good peo- ple came to demonstrate and plead a cause while the world’s spotlight was on Geneva, with 3,000 media representa- tives looking for stories (preferably neg- ative or embarrassing, since no real news was leaking out of the summit). It was the best decision I made. My KKO did an excellent job of meeting with all sorts of visitors to lend them a sympathetic ear, accept petitions and letters addressed to President Reagan, and so forth. He even knelt in a prayer circle with one delegation. Having a Kook Kontrol Officer en- abled me to focus on media arrange- ments for the summit. I highly recom- mend it to all Foreign Service col- leagues in similar situations. Christopher Henze Senior FSO, retired Neuilly, France The “After 9/11” Exhibition The cover story in your September issue, “The Foreign Service a Decade after 9/11,” included a contribution fromMichael Gallagher in which he re- counted his experience as a newly ar- rived FSO at Embassy Ottawa — and specifically, the response from the Canadian people to the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001. He poignantly de- scribed the “many flowers, notes and stuffed animals Canadians had left on our fence as an expression of their grief and solidarity with their American cousins.” This expression of support from our neighbors to the north was but one ex- ample of the way the rest of the world embraced the American people in our time of tragedy; expressions of condo- lence were sent to or left at many other embassies and consulates around the world. It is unfortunate that the Amer- icanmedia, for all of their excellent cov- erage of the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, did not offer this poignant perspective on how the rest of the world responded. Fortunately, these heartfelt out- pourings were memorialized in 2002 through an exhibit titled “After 9/11: Messages from the World and Images of Ground Zero.” This exhibit was or- ganized by the department’s United States Diplomacy Center and the Mu- seum of the City of New York. (The USDC is an office in the Bu- reau of Public Affairs, formed in 2000 to begin planning for the State De- partment’s interactive museum and vis-