Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Dear Christine Barnes Crocker,

Dear Mrs. Crocker,

I was trying to find a creative new name for my blog and googled famous diplomats in the hopes of finding out about their spouses when I, of course, came across your husband.  As you know, he is quite famous in the world, but especially the Foreign Service.  His name is spoken in the FS community with reverence and awe.

I knew, though, that there was most likely a spouse in the shadow of this great man.  So, I found out your name and started googling.  I was/am amazed.  I can find so little.  Maybe you have kept your life private, since what I mostly find is that you are a former member of the Foreign Service, and that you won the State Department's Award for Heroism in 2002.  My goodness!  The Award for Heroism!  I should say so!  But there are no specifics on that.  I can only assume it is regarding the bombing of the Embassy in Syria, or maybe it was for Beirut, Lebanon, or Baghdad, but I could be wrong.  I mean, good grief, you also served in Pakistan and Kuwait where bombs flying are as common as birds.  After a lot of searching I discovered that you survived the attack on the US embassy in Beirut in 1983 with a nasty head injury, the bombing of the Syrian ambassador's residence and embassy in 1998, and the March 2008 attack on the Green Zone in Baghdad where the upstairs windows of the your residence were blown out while you were inside, and still you stayed.

I have so many questions for you, Mrs. Crocker.  First and foremost is, how do you do it?  What do you do while your husband is away on dangerous and long trips?  What do you do as he works and works and works?  How have you lived in so many countries that restrict the lifestyles of women?  How do you live through violent attacks on your workplace and living quarters over and over again?  I have seen the beauty of the Middle East, don't get me wrong, and can appreciate its rich history and current challenges, but cannot envision living there for so long, and mostly alone.  I can only imagine how you felt when he took the job to be Ambassador to Afghanistan following your short-lived retirement.  Maybe the thrill of the adventure is what moves you too.  Maybe your dedication to your husband and the United States trumps everything.  Maybe it's both.  That's the case for so many of us Foreign Service Spouses.

What I can't understand is the extremely limited references to your sacrifice, your dedication to our country and your husband.  Have you shunned the spotlight?  Or is our country that blind?  I believe you deserve the Secretary's Award or even the Secretary's Distinguished Service Award.  I believe there should be an award dedicated to the sacrifices of the FS spouse.  You would surely be at the top of the list.

It's reported that your husband is leaving Afghanistan early due to health reasons.  Oh, Mrs. Crocker, I do hope that all will be okay.  I do hope that retirement will be glorious and relaxing for you both.  You both so surely deserve it.

I do want to say, "Thank you!"  Thank you for your sacrifices, all that you have given and given up for the United States of America.  I know your husband is a great man, but I'm pretty sure he couldn't have accomplished all that he has accomplished without your support.

I hope you are packing your last boxes this summer.  I can't imagine.  Wow, only one more pack-out, only one more Hail and Farewell.    Now I'm going to cry.   Give a nod for the rest of us out here in the world to the U.S. Immigration Officer when he says, "Welcome Home."  If he only knew, home is where we unpack our suitcase; we always carry the U.S. in our hearts wherever we go.

All the best to you,
The Spouse

Spouses, do you know a Spouse who deserves the Secretary's Distinguished Service Award for Spouses?    Call the Spouse out and tell us why!

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