For three years, openly gay US Ambassador to New Zealand David Huebner has served the best interests of America to the Pacific region. (He's pictured here with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Cook Islands Prime Minister Puna and Mrs. Akaiti Punaafter in early September; his spouse, Dr. Duane McWaine, is in sunglasses in the back.) When the Los Angeles-based attorney was first nominated to serve as ambassador, former Ambassador James Hormel said: "As the American people have learned from my experience, sexual orientation has nothing to do with one's ability to represent our country abroad in the foreign service. I am pleased that President Obama has chosen David Huebner who will serve as an excellent ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa."
The deep sense of patriotism, transcendent service and community among foreign service officers was felt thousands of miles away from Libya after the murder of US Ambassador Chris Stevens, State Department officer Sean Smith, and former SEAL members Tyrone Woods, and Glen Doherty in the brutal terrorists attacks on the US Consulate in Benghazi last week. All American embassies went on alert but Huebner still posted information and reaction on his blog – DavidHuebner.com - which he and the State Department consider an exercise of public diplomacy and outreach in social media.
In a Sept. 14 post entitled “Fallen Colleagues Return Home,” Huebner featured photos, excerpts and videos of remarks made by President Obama and Sec. of State Clinton as the bodies of the murdered men returned to Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. And then Huebner posted some of his own thoughts:
It has been a very difficult week for the State Department family, made all the harder by those who play politics with tragedy, inflame hatred and intolerance, or signal with their words or silence that murderous violence is an acceptable reaction to supposed insult or hurt feelings. In the fullness of time those who trade in such profound ignorance will themselves reap the bitter fruit of what they have sown.
Glen, Tyrone, Sean, and Chris represented the better angels of human nature. They were selfless, warm-hearted, inclusive, courageous. They devoted their lives to the cause of freedom, justice, and human dignity, and not just for Americans. When others fled to safety, they remained in a dangerous place far from home, doing dangerous work, to help a newly liberated people build civil institutions and take control of their destiny.
May God bless the souls and memory of Glen, Tyrone, Sean, and Chris. May God watch over and grant solace to their families, friends, and all who loved them. And may God give strength to those courageous men and women around the world who continue the difficult, thankless, but absolutely necessary work that claimed the lives of our four fallen colleagues.