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Secretary hosts holiday event for families.

Secretary of State John Kerry hosted the annual Diplomacy at Home for the Holidays event in the Diplomatic Reception Rooms at Main State on Dec. 17. The holiday reception honors and thanks the families of U.S. government employees on assignment at unaccompanied posts, who endure long periods of separation from their loved ones, even during the holidays.

The event was started by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2009 and is organized by the Office of the Chief of Protocol in collaboration with the Family Liaison Office (FLO). This year's event included special activities, performances and guest appearances by Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and by retired professional basketball players Dikembe Mutombo and Ruth Riley. Children took pictures at the digital photo booth and made ornaments and picture frames that were put into care packages to be mailed to their loved ones.

The United States Army Jazz Combo and the U.S. Marine Corps'

Brass Quintet performed. Later, children gathered to hear Secretary Kerry express his gratitude to the families. "I hope you will see it [the reception] as a sign that we understand and appreciate the sacrifices that you are making," he said. "And I hope that you know how deeply and sincerely grateful we are--and how grateful the president is, and the American people--to you and to your families."

Secretary Kerry posed for a photo with the children, who went home in smiles with gift bags. More information on FLO's Unaccompanied Tours support is available from FLOAskUT@state.gov or FLO's website.

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Title Annotation:In the News; Secretary of State John Kerry
Publication:State Magazine
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2015
Words:255
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