Rest in peace, Richard Holbrooke

President Obama made the following statement on Richard Holbrooke’s death at the age of 69: “Michelle and I are deeply saddened by the passing of Richard Holbrooke, a true giant of American foreign policy who has made America stronger, safer, and more respected. He was a truly unique figure who will be remembered for his tireless diplomacy, love of country, and pursuit of peace.

“For nearly 50 years, Richard served the country he loved with honor and distinction. He worked as a young foreign service officer during the Vietnam War and then supported the Paris peace talks which ended that war. As a young Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, he helped normalize relations with China. As U.S. Ambassador to Germany, he helped Europe emerge from a long Cold War and encouraged NATO to welcome new members.

“As Assistant Secretary of State for European and Canadian Affairs, he was the tireless chief architect of the Dayton Accords that ended the war in Bosnia 15 years ago this week, saving countless lives. As Ambassador to the United Nations, Richard helped break a political impasse and strengthen our nation’s relationship with the UN and elevated the cause of AIDS and Africa on the international agenda. And throughout his life, as a child of refugees, he devoted himself to the plight of people displaced around the world.

“When I became President, I was grateful that Richard agreed to serve as Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. The progress that we have made in Afghanistan and Pakistan is due in no small measure to Richard’s relentless focus on America’s national interest, and pursuit of peace and security. He understood, in his life and his work, that our interests encompassed the values that we hold so dear. And as usual, amidst his extraordinary duties, he also mentored young people who will serve our country for decades to come. One of his friends and admirers once said that, “If you’re not on the team and you’re in his way, God help you.” Like so many Presidents before me, I am grateful that Richard Holbrooke was on my team, as are the American people.

“Earlier this evening at the State Department, I met with Richard’s wife Kati and their family, David, Anthony, Lizzie, Christopher and Sarah, and I spoke to Kati after Richard’s passing. I expressed to them the gratitude of the American people for his lifetime of service. They are in our thoughts and prayers tonight. Tonight, there are millions of people around the world whose lives have been saved and enriched by his work. As I said earlier this evening, the United States is safer and the world is more secure because of the half century of patriotic service of Ambassador Richard Holbrooke.”

17 Responses to “Rest in peace, Richard Holbrooke”

  1. December 13, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    The first picture you had up of Hillary and the President made me want to comment on how great she looked all dressed up like that. But that seems to have disappeared in the ether.

    I imagine she is very stressed trying to run a big reception at the very time a good friend of hers is passing.

    If I may add – it looks not quite right to see the clip you have up there with that big smile above the solemn post – you know what I mean?

    • December 13, 2010 at 10:01 pm

      Hi Sequana, I changed the post once I heard Richard Holbrooke had died and removed the photos, which seemed inappropriate under the circumstances. Just to clarify, Richard Holbrooke was still alive when the reception took place, which explains why the mood wasn’t as somber as might have been expected. Also, I agree, the smiling still in the video of the President is out of place, but I have no control over that, it’s how the video shows up on YouTube, from where it is linked.

      PS I decided to remove the video, out of respect.

  2. December 13, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    Thank you. I think this is lots better. And I’m glad I captured a pic of Sec. Clinton in that great jacket. *S*

    I’m also glad that Ambassador Holbrooke was here in the states, and actually AT the State Dept. I think, when he was stricken. Imagine that happening over in Afghanistan. At least this way, his family got to sit with him and say goodbye.

  3. December 13, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    For those who might not be familiar with Richard Holbrooke, this is the guy who more than anyone else probably, brought peace to Bosnia, probably the biggest foreign policy crisis of the 1990’s. It is hard to think of something more important to achieve in life than to be able to say that you were responsible for ending a major war. Richard Holbrooke could say that. He also probably would have been Secretary of State had Hillary Clinton been elected president.

    • December 13, 2010 at 10:34 pm

      Thanks Joe, I just watched an interview from a few years back of Richard Holbrooke talking about his involvement in the Bosnian peace talks, I’d honestly forgotten just how pivotal his role was. That’s a truly marvelous legacy for any man to leave, his work literally saved countless lives. May he rest in peace.

    • 6 Kelly
      December 13, 2010 at 11:26 pm

      thanks for the info.

  4. 7 EDP4BHO
    December 13, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    Rest in peace, good soldier!

  5. 8 globalcitizenlinda
    December 13, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    Rest in Eternal Peace, Ambassador Holbroke, dedicated public/foreign servant of thr people of the nation you deeply loved and the quest for peace around the globe. the world desparately needs people like you and yet these are not the ones who are usually praised by the media

  6. 10 theo67
    December 14, 2010 at 12:19 am

    This is sad that it happened so quickly, but I’m glad his friends and family were with him and got to say goodbye. It’s a real loss.

  7. December 14, 2010 at 2:47 am

    I did not know Richard Holbrook, but I feel his passing. What an extraordinary man who gave so much of himself.

    Eternal rest, grant unto him O Lord,
    and let perpetual light shine upon him.
    May his soul rest in peace.


  8. 12 cat48
    December 14, 2010 at 6:58 am

    I didn’t know Mr. Holbrooke, but I’ve watched his excellent work over the years. This is truly distressing to me because I so believe in “soft power” with the rest of the World. It’s good that his spirit and influence will still live on in the younger diplomats he trained and worked with over the years. With all my sympathy to his family.

  9. 13 CR
    December 14, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    My condolences go out to the Holbrooke family. I appreciate all the work that Ambassador Holbrooke has done.

  10. 14 theo67
    December 14, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    Chipsticks – this was a life well-lived. I hope that when the right time comes along, you will post the State department video, because there were some wonderful words stated from both the President and Sec of State about the wonderful diplomat that Ambassador Holbrooke was, and the enormous impact his life had for all of the world. The comments by the President regarding the State department were worth listening to, as well. It was a heartfelt statement of gratitude for the people who represent this country around the world.

  11. 15 Sue in Minnesota
    December 14, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    This is so sudden and so sad. I watched him on Rachel Maddow’s show on a couple of occassions, it was very evident that he was both whip smart and deeply dedicated to serving our country. He also impressed me as being both warm and compassionate.

    My prayers for both comfort and support, to his loved ones, and all those whose lives he touched.

  12. 16 northanger
    December 14, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    Rest in peace.

  13. 17 Eleroy
    December 15, 2010 at 1:24 am

    Rest in peace Mr. Holbrooke. Shalom!!!

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