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A Grand Old Flag

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Former State Department dignitary R. Barrie Walkley unfurls a Stars and Stripes-themed quilt, one of many mementos from his service to his country. Del NorteTriplicate / Bryant Anderson
British-born Del Norte retiree reflects on three decades of service in U.S. State Department 

Visitors to R. Barrie Walkley’s home can read the story of his life and career on its walls. Two American flags, a plaque commemorating the 2011 inauguration of the U.S. Embassy in South Sudan and a U.S. Consulate General’s seal adorn the outbuildings. Wooden tablets hang from a bookcase near the front door. The Arabic lines, written by Somali and Guinean schoolchildren learning the Koran, share space with Steinbeck and Hemingway. A wooden stork headdress, crafted by the Baga people of Guinea, stands in one corner of Walkley’s living room. A second headdress, this one of a fish and a woman, reside in another corner. And two pairs of glass eyes from a stuffed springbok and gemsbok gaze out Walkley’s window onto the Smith River below.


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