Opening of Africa Cup Soccer Tournament an der Gail S. Halvorsen School
Berlin, 15. Juni 2017
Geschäftsträger ad interim Kent Logsdon
Thank you, Principal Kathrin Röschel, I attended your soccer tournament last year and I am honored to be back for your Africa Cup this year. Soccer is truly a global phenomenon.
Like any sport, you play soccer to win but there is more to it than just scoring goals. Football brings people together across national, ethnic, and religious lines. For girls, football has had an enormous empowering effect. The lessons you learn on the playing field will serve you well in school, at college, and on the job. Good team players are also strong individuals who know how to give – and give back. And whether you learn those lessons of compassion on the soccer field, on the track practicing for a big run, at home, or in the classroom – they are important.
This school is named after a man who lived those lessons during the Berlin Airlift. Over 75,000 people helped in some capacity in what many call the largest humanitarian mission ever. The name we remember, however, is very often that of the Candy Pilot, Colonel Gail S. Halvorsen.
In addition to food and fuel and the candy delivered by Colonel Halvorsen, over 200,000 CARE packages were delivered by Airlift pilots. CARE was a way for Americans to send relief packages to those in need in war-ravaged Europe. Today Germany and the United States are partners in CARE International. All CARE projects – like “10,000 Footsteps for Africa,” today’s CARE donation run – begin at the local level.
The story of Colonel Halvorsen’s candy parachutes and CARE packages underscores the direct and personal ties between Germany and the United States. Those simple acts of kindness and generosity, like your soccer game, or today’s CARE run, or your school’s charity drive for education projects for girls in Africa – all symbolize the common humanity that unites all people.
I won’t be able to stay for the whole game today. Unfortunately I have to get back to work. Principal Röschel, I do have a set of soccer jerseys for the winning team in your Africa Cup.
I would like to wish all of you an exciting tournament and a great run. Remember German-American relations are all about people. Nine of you from the Gail S. Halvorsen School are leaving next week for a trip to the U.S. Be sure to share what you learn when you get back home.
Have a fantastic day.