The Cable

Clinton says goodbye to 500 State Department employees

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presided over the retirement ceremony for about 500 career State Department employees on Friday morning, thanking them for their service and urging them to keep in touch. "Your careers are part of the fabric of American history and our ongoing, never-ending mission to try to help build a better world," ...

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presided over the retirement ceremony for about 500 career State Department employees on Friday morning, thanking them for their service and urging them to keep in touch.

"Your careers are part of the fabric of American history and our ongoing, never-ending mission to try to help build a better world," she said at the State Department. About 150 of the retirees were in attendance.

The civil service and Foreign Service officers leaving State today have served at 250 posts abroad, speak 55 languages, and have logged a total of 14,000 years of service to the United States of America. "But who’s counting? You all look good to me," Clinton said.

Here are some of the retirees that Clinton singled out at today’s festivities.

  • Ora B. Smith, who served 47 years with the State Department.
  • John A. Dooley, a nuclear energy policy expert for 38 years who passed away this year and was represented at the ceremony by his son Daniel Christopher Dooley.
  • Ada Adler, who began working at State in 1958 but had to resign when she met her husband Mike, because female Foreign Service officers were not allowed to be married at the time. She was allowed to rejoin State when the rule was changed in 1972. Her son, Michael J. Adler, is now deputy chief of mission in Kuwait. Her grandson, Michael Carlsberg, works in State’s Education and Cultural Affairs bureau.
  • Sandra Keiser, who was the deputy chief of mission in Copenhagen when Danish diplomats were being threatened after a Danish cartoonist published a drawing of the prophet Mohammad.
  • David Dunn, who translated for Mother Theresa on her visit to Burundi to establish one of her first orphanages for children who lost their parents to AIDS.

Clinton shook hands and posed for a picture with several dozen of the retirees that were present at today’s ceremony. She also urged them to be prepared to come back into service if and when an opportunity might arise.

"We may very well need your help in the future," Clinton said. "We have asked retirees to come in, to help out, to serve as charges while we waited for the Senate to act — which is like waiting for Godot, one never knows when it will happen."

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