Moments Posted in Spouses and children

This is an archive of Moments in U.S. Diplomatic History posted in the Spouses and children category.

John S. Service – The Man Who “Lost China,” Part II

John Service, the son of missionaries who grew up in China, was one of the Department’s “China hands,” an expert on the region who also served as a key member of the “Dixie Mission,” which met with Mao and other Communist Chinese in Yenan in 1944. He and a few others correctly predicted that Chiang Kai-Shek, […]



Halloweens Around the World

BOO! Halloween is a holiday on October 31st where costumes, tricks, and treats reign supreme. Originally a pagan holiday, Halloween is a time when children, and often times adults, dress up in silly and creative costumes; some go door to door asking for candy while others attend costumes parties and dance the night away. Though Halloween […]



Learning the Brazilian Candomble Dance

Candomblé, meaning “dance in honor of the gods” in Portuguese, is an Afro-Brazilian religion developed during the earliest days of slave trade by Africans forced into slavery in Brazil. Those of this faith believe that each individual possesses their own personal orixa, or deity, that both acts as a protector and controls their destiny. A […]



The Headache That Is the Fourth of July Party

The Fourth of July is a celebration of the United States’ independence.  It is a day of family, friends, food, and a few beers.  However, this is not typically the case for those representing the United States overseas.  When the time comes, members of an embassy overseas are charged with putting on a big party […]



Car Troubles: Caught in the Crosshairs of a Greek pro-democracy Protest

From 1970 to 1974, Charles Stuart Kennedy served as Consul General in Athens. While there, his wife Ellen, who wanted a quiet night out, was inadvertently caught in a political protest against the Regime of the Colonels, a series of right-wing military juntas that ruled Greece following the 1967 Greek coup d’état; the dictatorship ended in July 1974. Charles Stuart Kennedy recalls the event […]



Escape from the Congo

During the Congo Crisis (1960-1966), which began after the colony was granted independence from Belgium, the province of Katanga declared itself a sovereign state. The situation in the Congo became so grave that in November 1961, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 169 to remove foreign military and other personnel not under the U.N. Command, […]



Born in the Congo: The Experience of Giving Birth During a Civil War

Emergency medical care in developing countries can be problematic, if not wholly inadequate. Even more so in the 1960s. When you’re expecting twins. In a country in the midst of a civil war. However, when Terry McNamara’s wife went into labor in the conflict-ridden Province of Katanga in the Congo (now the Democratic Republic of […]



Back in the USSR — Life as a Student in Moscow in the 1960s

Grim. Tedious. Unrelentingly cold and dreary. Add in KGB surveillance and the fear that they truly were out to get you and you have the makings of one memorable graduate year abroad. Dr. Naomi F. Collins has enjoyed a storied life and career in academia, non-profit work and various other areas. Some of her most […]



Four Days in September — The Kidnapping of the U.S. Ambassador to Brazil

It sounds like something out of Hollywood. Indeed, it was made into a Brazilian movie in 1997 with Alan Arkin (in his pre-Argo days). Charles Burke Elbrick, U.S. Ambassador to Brazil, was kidnapped and held for four days in September 1969. What made the incident so strange was that Fernando Gabeira, a member of the guerrilla group […]



Tie a Yellow Ribbon — The Iran Hostage Crisis as Seen from the Home Front

Penelope (Penne) Laingen is the wife of Bruce Laingen, who had served in Germany, Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan before being named ambassador to Malta in 1977.  He was sent back to Iran to serve as Charge d’Affaires, and had been there for only a few months when the U.S. Embassy was overrun by student protesters.  […]