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Band of Friendship
Ambassador William R. Timken, Jr.

December 8, 2005

As prepared for delivery.

Students of the Clay Oberschule,

It is a pleasure to visit your school. I am here because of your special relationship to the Benjamin Franklin High School in New Orleans school in the United States. Since your schools became official partners under the German American Partnership Program was established in 1991, many friendships have been formed between the students and the teachers of the Clay-Oberschule and Benjamin Franklin High.

That is why when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in September, many of you here watched with special concern as the floodwaters rose. And then, like so many Americans and Germans and people from around the world, you offered your support. Your invitation to host students from the displaced Franklin community was kind and generous.

In the past year, the world has responded to a number of devastating natural disasters – Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the tsunami last Christmas, and the tragic earthquake in South Asia in October.

As the winter approaches, millions of people in Pakistan and India will continue to need food, water, shelter and medical care. Both our countries are helping the people in that troubled region to get their lives and communities back on their feet.

Americans learned firsthand – thanks to people like you – about the power of people working together to help when natural disaster strikes.

For that reason, it is a great honor to accept this banner of friendship on behalf of the Benjamin Franklin High School. Much progress has been made in New Orleans. Benjamin Franklin High School will re-open and this banner will hang proudly in the halls of your partner school.

Thank you very much.