Thank you, Ambassador, friends, dignitaries, all our colleagues, all the men and women who worked so hard to bring this wonderful event about. It’s an honor for me to be here this evening.
We have many things to be grateful for. I personally have had a number of blessings. One is to have the opportunity to work for the wife of the former president, Secretary Clinton, and she serves with great distinction as Secretary of State. And at this time next week, we’ll be in Vietnam for our visit and also for our meetings as part of the ASEAN Regional Forum.
I have to say I was part of the delegation with Warren Christopher 15 years ago. I was the Department of Defense representative on that airplane and it was unbelievably exciting. And I recall as we were descending through the clouds on the old 707 plane that the Secretary of State used to fly on, I was sitting next to a great patriot, a wonderful army officer named Dan Christman, General Dan Christman, who was the military assistant to the Secretary. And we were all looking out the window as we went down through the clouds, and I was sitting next to him and I turned to say to him what a wonderful experience that was, and he was completely flushed with emotion. He was just completely overwhelmed. It was his first time back. He had served there previously. And over the course of the next five days that we were there, we basically were at each other’s sides, went to every single meeting. And whenever I see him after that, it’s a bond that we have, some incredible events, wonderful hospitality by our friends from Vietnam.
And if you look at what we’ve accomplished over the last 15 years, no one would have said it was possible. And I think we have a lot to be grateful for. It’s not enough, however, to look at where we’ve been, but where we’re going. As I look at all the friends in Southeast Asia, I think we have the greatest prospects in the future with Vietnam. And we’re very grateful for that.
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