The flags at the State Department, the White House and at the U.S. Capitol were flown at half staff Wednesday to honor the four Americans who died at the U.S. consulate in Libya.
In the middle of the afternoon, members of the House of Representatives paused for a moment of silence.
Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, who joined the Foreign Service in 1991, was fluent in Arabic and French. Before he became a diplomat, he was a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco.
When he wasn't posted abroad, Stevens lived in Chevy Chase, Md., where a resident described him as a "cool, good guy," "very laid-back," and an enthusiastic tennis player.
Author and academic Robin Wright knew Chris Stevens for 25 years. She remembered that he frequently would "work the streets" wherever he was posted in the Arab world.
"Chris really got out, and he knew everybody," said Wright in an interview. "And he was willing to risk his life over and over and over. He took a cargo boat into Benghazi when it was under siege by Gadhafi's forces ... this is not an ordinary man. This is an extraordinary diplomat."
Robin Wright believes if Ambassador Stevens had survived the mob attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, he would have urged the U.S. to continue to engage with the people (and with the government) of Libya.