The last day of A-100 is Swearing-in Day, which takes place at the main State Department building in Washington. Like Flag Day, family and friends are able to attend, so I attended. This time I was on my own, none of our family could attend. I came down to Washington around noon, so I could have lunch with Diplowife at the State Department’s cafeteria. Again, getting in the building means going through airport-like security, so be prepared for that. The cafeteria there is extensive, but the food was nothing special.
After that we went to a big auditorium for the ceremony. The new FSO’s all sat in the front few rows, along with new members of the State Department’s civil service who were being sworn in at the same time. Much like Flag Day, there were several State Department luminaries in attendance on stage, and several speeches. They usually try to get the Secretary of State to attend, but he was busy elsewhere. Just as well, one of the Undersecretaries was there and gave a very inspiring speech. He clearly has a lot of confidence in the State Department’s future, with new officers like my amazing wife running things.
After that, the new officers were sworn in, and all came up on stage for a group photo. Diplowife’s A-100 class was so large they couldn’t all fit, so the photo may not turn out very well. So Diplowife was now an official Foreign Service Officer! I took a lot of pictures, mostly of her, then we wandered around the building and took more pics. There is a big lobby area with flags from around the world, for all the countries that have US embassies and consulates. They had just reinstalled the flag of Cuba recently, which was nice to see. There is also a little museum for some of the DoS’s historical artifacts.
Then we went downstairs to see the little shopping area. They have two gift shops full of State Department and patriotic swag, plus a used book store, hair salon, post office and Starbucks. I got some State Department cuff links, useful for DoS parties in the future. That day, a group of Scandinavian diplomats were there meeting with Secretary Kerry and others, so there were a lot of extra security guards around the main entrance. When we were leaving, they thought I was a Danish diplomat, which I took as a compliment.
After that, we went to a happy hour in Georgetown with Diplowife’s classmates. I like meeting them, they’re usually very bright and personable, as you might expect. Then we walked around Georgetown a while, and got some early dinner at Martin’s Tavern, a popular place for politicians and journalists. We sat at Madeleine Albright’s favorite table, which we took as a good omen. Unfortunately, I ruined the mood by getting butter all over my best suit somehow. I’ll be more careful in the future.