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Germany
Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger
German National Day Reception
Washington, D.C.
October 3, 2001

Mr. Secretary,
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
dear friends,
Liebe Gäste und Freunde,

Let me welcome you on this Day of German Unity - and let me first address my fellow-countrymen in German:

Heute jährt sich zum elften Mal der 3. Oktober 1990, der Tag, an dem sich unser Land friedlich vereinigen konnte. Ohne die Unterstützung der amerikanischen Regierung unter dem damaligen Präsidenten George Bush wäre deutsche Einheit in Freiheit nicht möglich geworden. Unsere Dankbarkeit Amerika gegenüber drücken wir auch und gerade mit der heutigen Feier aus, drei Wochen nach dem schrecklichen Terroranschlag am 11. September.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Germany's unity would not have been possible without the solidarity and support offered by the United States, by the American people and in particular, by the 41st President, George Herbert Walker Bush.

Today, as we celebrate the eleventh anniversary of our national unity, we say thank you to America. Three weeks ago, on September 12, I sent a letter to many of you, and I would like to quote from this letter now:

"My Dear German Compatriots, German-Americans in the United States and guests of the Embassy reception on the Day of German Unity:

This year, the Day of German Unity comes at a difficult time for the American people.

On the Day of German Unity, we want to show our solidarity with the American people and with the victims of the horrific attack on September 11. Together with our American friends, we mourn this terrible and senseless loss of life.

On September 11, a number of Germans lost their lives at the WTC, certainly the highest number of victims of any terrorist attack in German history. As our hearts go out to all those who have lost loved ones in this country, we also think of the German victims and their families.

As an expression of tangible support, the German Embassy is establishing a German-American Solidarity Fund to benefit the victims and their families. Your donation as a gesture of the close friendship and bond between Germans and Americans will be highly appreciated.

Thank you for helping us make the Day of German Unity 2001 a day of German-American solidarity." End of quote.

It was in this same spirit of solidarity and friendship that Chancellor Gerhard Schröder declared Germany's full solidarity with the United States in the fight against terrorism. He said, and I quote, "The people of Germany stand firmly at the side of the United States of America in this difficult hour." Hundreds of thousands of Germans expressed their sympathy with America at Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, in churches, and in the streets of many cities throughout Germany.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Tonight's hospitality would not have been possible without generous support from a number of companies - I am most grateful to all of them. The principal sponsor of tonight's event, Deutsche Post, is represented here by a member of their board and a very special person: Dr. Monika Wulf-Mathies, who has served our country in a number of important national and international functions: Please welcome Dr. Monika Wulf-Mathies.

Mr. Secretary,
the response to the embassy's Solidarity Fund has been absolutely overwhelming. It gives me great pleasure to present to you now the donations paid or pledged by German and German-American individuals, by German and German-American companies, and by many others. Some of these donations went directly from German donors to US charities. Other donations, small and large, were received by the German-American Solidarity Fund established here at the embassy. Just to give you one example: A swimming club in Germany held a 24 hour-swimming event collecting 1 DM for each kilometer swum by their club members, thus collecting one thousand DM. I have received ten dollar checks, one thousand dollar checks, and one million dollar checks from individuals and from corporations, all within hours of our initial announcement of this fund on September 12. We have all been truly overwhelmed.

Some of the funds which have been transmitted to us have already been transferred to American charities. For example, on Monday I presented a check in the amount of 1 million dollars to the New York Fire Fighter's 911 Relief Fund - only a few steps from here, at our local fire station on MacArthur Boulevard. More donations are continuing to come in, even during our reception tonight.

As of this afternoon, Mr. Secretary, the sum total of the overall German effort to help amounted to more than 28 million dollars. This magnificent response from Germany, from the German-American business community, from Germans living in this country and from many Americans is a tremendous demonstration of the close German-American bond. Let me say to you, Mr. Secretary, that all of this makes me really proud to represent my country here in Washington. I would now like to present to you, as the senior representative of the United States Government here tonight, a symbolic check in the amount of 28 million dollars, as a token of German-American friendship and of our sympathy with America.

In concluding, I want to thank all of you, all of the donors, and I wish all of you a happy evening now, celebrating the German National Day. Thank you very much.

END