I was going to do a post about the Diplomatic Reception Rooms at the State Department when I realized that I had never posted anything about our Swearing-In Ceremony! So the two will tie in nicely together.

We had our Flag Day back on June 21 and found out where we were being posted. That following Friday we were publically sworn into service by Thomas Nides, the Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources. If you go to the State Department’s website and look at the Public Schedule for June 24 you can actually see our class listed on his agenda…right below Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton and Deputy Secretary Jim Steinberg. I thought that was pretty cool.

We were supposed to have our ceremony in the Ben Franklin State Dining Room upstairs in the Diplomatic Reception Rooms. The rooms are just stunning…the epitome of Old World glamour with huge chandeliers, gold trim, Corinthian columns, and priceless art. There’s even a website dedicated to the rooms that has great photos and history and educational information about the collections. The funny thing is that I was totally convinced that it was all authentic since there are so many old buildings in the DC area. But I learned from their website that they were originally the same nondescript concrete (with a few exceptions) as the rest of the building until they were intentionally remodeled in the 1980s to reflect Early American Colonial style. I’d say they did a very fine job.

The Benjamin Franklin State Dining Room

The only thing I can’t figure out is how to navigate the website. The main page doesn’t seem to have a link to the individual rooms, but I did find them through a Google image search. So at the moment I’m changing the end of the URL address from “rm=1” to “rm=2”, etc. to advance through the room portion of the site. Maybe part of it is still under construction or something. Who knows? Here’s the link if you’d like to give it a try.

https://diplomaticrooms.state.gov/Pages/Rooms.aspx?rm=1

So, like I said, we were supposed to have our ceremony in the Ben Franklin room, but it ended up being rerouted to one of the auditoriums, which was a little disappointing. Then we found out why…apparently Secretary Clinton had two meetings at State that afternoon. After she got back from visiting the White House, she met with Osama al-Nujaifi, the Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament, followed closely by Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-Hwan. I’d say it’s a pretty safe assumption that those kinds of meetings are probably in the Diplomatic Reception Rooms.

Needless to say, that kind of put things in perspective. It’s funny to think that Secretary Clinton is ultimately my boss. And, yes, I did get a little teary when I raised my hand and repeated after Deputy Secretary Nides, “I, [name], do solemnly swear…”

Secretary Clinton swearing in the 152nd Foreign Service Officer Class in the same auditorium in April 2010.

All photos courtesy of the State Department website.

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