Hillary Clinton thanked her staff and fellow State Department employees before leaving on her last day as secretary of state, praising them for the work accomplished in the last four years.
Speaking before the group of State Department employees, Clinton said it was an honor to work at the department and she is proud of the work they accomplished together.
"I cannot fully express how grateful I am to those with whom I have spent many hours here in Washington, around the world, and in airplanes. But I'm proud of the work we have done to elevate diplomacy and development, to serve the nation we all love, to understand the challenges, the threats, and the opportunities that the United States faces, and to work with all our heart and all of our might to make sure that America is secure, that our interests are promoted, and our values are respected."
Clinton said she leaves the post more optimistic than she was four years ago because she has seen the contributions diplomats and development experts make every day.
Clinton's successor, Senator John Kerry, will officially take the oath of office in a private ceremony later Friday.
"So next week, I would expect that all of you will be as focused and dedicated for Secretary Kerry as you have been for me and that you will continue to serve President Obama and our nation with the same level of professionalism and commitment that I have seen firsthand."
Thursday, May 23 2013 2:59 AM EDT2013-05-23 06:59:26 GMT
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