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Hi, my name is Raffi Gregorian. I'm the Director of the Office of Peace Operations in the U.S. Department of State. May 29th is the day that we honor the service and sacrifice of UN peacekeepers. Today there are over 110,000 men and women from 116 different countries, including the United States, serving in 15 missions around the world. Peacekeepers serve in some of the most dangerous and remote areas of the world helping protect civilians, observe ceasefires, conduct elections, and rebuild post conflict states. For me, this day is personal. I served as a civilian helping implement the Dayton Peace Accords in Bosnia and as a reservist, I volunteered for service in both Bosnia and Kosovo. My wife, Olga, was a UN peacekeeper in Bosnia herself. So today, I ask you to join me in honoring the service and dedication and the sacrifices of UN peacekeepers -- our blue helmet partners in peace and security.
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