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It is not every day that a former Secretary of State comes to town. The first in a new speaker series from the Clinton Presidential Center entitled Bridge Builders, brought the former Secretary of State for President Bill Clinton, Dr. Madeleine Albright to town. The talk was first slated for the Ron Robinson theater but so many people signed up that they had to change venues to the Hall High School auditorium. She packed the house.

Nominated by President Bill Clinton in December 1996, Dr. Madeleine Albright was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate and became the first woman to serve as U.S. Secretary of State. She served from 1997 to 2001.

The format for her talk was conversational with just a moderator and Dr. Albright discussing her life and career, as well as her newest book, Fascism: A Warning.

She was an exceptional speaker with quite a bit of humor. She talked about how she came to the United States, having been born in Czechoslovakia, moving to England during WWII, then coming to the United States in 1948 at the age of 11 with her parents.

She has led an interesting life and has left her mark in American history.

An interesting thing that I was not aware of is her pin collection. She owns over 200 brooches or pins, which are mostly costume jewelry that she began wearing during her time at the United Nations, and continued throughout her diplomatic career. The pins were a reflection of her moods. One story she told was after they had found some listening devices (Bugs) in their conference room, she wore a huge insect (bug) pin to the meeting with those who had placed the bug--they got the message. In a happy state of mind, she wore flowers, balloons and butterflies. On bad days she could wear carnivorous animals, snakes or bugs. The word spread about her pins, and people started watching for them and gauging her moods.

She talked about hard decisions and her style of leadership. The audience was a great mix of men and women of all ages and colors. It was a delightful way to spend a Saturday evening and learn a little history. Afterwards there was a book signing ( and a lot of people brought or bought books). We went out to dinner.

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