Remembrance, Reflection, Resilience

Remembrance, Reflection, Resilience 150 150

Remembrance, Reflection, Resilience

Twenty years ago on a summer morning, two U.S. embassies in Africa fell victim to coordinated and nearly simultaneous truck bombs – later linked to the terrorist organization Al-Qaeda. Fifty-six U.S. government employees, contractors, and family members were killed. From the ashes, countless survivors pulled together and rebuilt strengthened and resilient communities.

In commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the attacks, the National Museum of American Diplomacy, working in collaboration with Ambassador Prudence Bushnell and Ambassador John Lange, hosted an event where survivors related their personal stories, acts of courage, and opportunities for leadership. Held in the Burns Auditorium at the Department of State, panelists included both ambassadors and 4 embassy employees who experienced the attacks firsthand in 1998 (2 from each embassy). They shared how they served their communities in the face of the ultimate tragedy. The discussion was moderated by Ambassador Barbara Stephenson, President of the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA). In conjunction with the commemoration, AFSA published personal accounts from several survivors from each embassy in their July/August 2018 edition of the Foreign Service Journal.

In opening remarks, Mrs. Susan Pompeo expressed the support of her husband – Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. USAID Administrator Mark Green (who was U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania from 2007-2009) expressed the strength of the relationships we have today between the U.S. and Kenya and Tanzania. And Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Tibor Nagy reiterated the themes of remembrance, reflection, and resilience as the countries look ahead to continuing the partnerships and bonds that have been strengthened despite the attacks.

On September 23rd, 2018, C-SPAN aired a segment on the Diplomacy Center’s East Africa Bombings exhibit, complemented with interviews with Ambassadors Bushnell and Lange.