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Foreign Service officers undaunted by bombings

August 12, 1998
Web posted at: 1:35 p.m. EDT (1735 GMT)

ARLINGTON, Virginia (CNN) -- The recent deadly bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania appears not to have damaged the enthusiasm of the latest crop of U.S. Foreign Service officers.

"Excellent," "excited," "phenomenal" -- those were some of the reactions when the 51 new graduates of the National Foreign Affairs Training Center in Arlington, Virginia, learned of their future postings far away from home.

Many of the aspiring diplomats had helped staff the inter-agency office that was hastily assembled at the State Department to coordinate emergency efforts immediately after the embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.

The death of 12 colleagues clearly touched the new grads. But none of them said it had dented their love of adventure, new cultures and their country:

Slater was only two days into her new career at the U.S. embassy in Dar es Salaam when she was nearly killed by the embassy bombing. "It was something terrible, horrible ... The colleague I was sitting with was hysterically screaming."

Elizabeth Slater
Posted to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

"When I saw on CNN the families, the employees, I thought to myself: those people are my co-workers, they're my family."

Christina Tomlinson
Posted to Guangzhou, China

"Those bombs didn't go off in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi. Those bombs went off in every embassy -- everyone felt them."

Aaron Sherinian
Posted to San Jose, Costa Rica

"These people were sitting in the same seats we're now sitting in. They went through what we went through."

Jennifer Harhigh
Posted to Bangkok, Thailand

For me it really redoubled my commitment."

Brian Newbert
Posted to Kinshasa, Dem. Republic of Congo

"I just really thought I made the right decision. This is definitely the career for me, the life that I want."

Veronica Mobley
Posted to London

"This challenging kid is gonna face challenges he's never imagined," Copley said, referring to his son, sitting on Copley's knees. "And we don't know how that's going to play out."

Rob Copley
Posted to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
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