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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Secretary of State John Kerry and Diplomutt Ben
Holiday Event Salutes Unaccompanied Tour Families
In December, Secretary of State John Kerry and his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, hosted the eighth annual Diplomacy at Home for the Holidays event in the Diplomatic Reception Rooms at Main State, honoring the dedication and sacrifice of U.S. government employees and families who endure long periods of separation due to assignments at hardship posts. 
Like the first such event, hosted by Secretary Clinton in 2009, the celebration was geared towards children, offering activities, performances and gifts. They decorated a keepsake box to fill with special mementos to share with their parents and a jar filled with Hershey Kisses. After  posing with Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer in the digital photo booth, they could then email the photos instantly to their special person serving at an unaccompanied post.  
Entertainment was provided by the Carol Ringers Bell Choir and a military jazz quartet. Later, Secretary Kerry told attendees that “representing America abroad is what the State Department is all about. And it’s more than just a job; it’s a calling. And everybody here is a member of a family. We’re all part of the same family.” 
He then introduced the “wicked awesome” cast of the Broadway hit”Wicked,” which performed the popular songs “The Wizard and I,” “For Good” and “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire.”
At the close, Secretary Kerry mingled and posed for photos, and the children went home with large world globes and gift bags full of items donated by event sponsors.    

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