The Galveston-Niigata Sister Cities Committee is in Niigata, Japan. Dr. Stephen F. Duncan, director of fine arts for the Galveston school district and a member of the committee, delivered a speech at the planting of dogwood trees, which were a gift to the people of Japan. The gift commemorates the cherry trees given to the American people by Japan 100 years ago. The following item is an excerpt from that speech.

For 100 years, Americans have visited Washington, D.C., and enjoyed the beauty of the cherry blossoms as they bloom.

I have myself visited and loved the sights and smells of the Sakura trees, a gift from the people of Japan. These are the descendants of the original 3,000 trees given by the people of Japan in 1912.

To celebrate the anniversary of this beautiful gift, the people of the United States are donating to the people of Japan 3,000 dogwood trees.

May these flourish and bloom each spring, bringing joy to all those who see them. May they bear witness to the kizuna, the special bond between our two peoples. May the friendship between our two nations grow and flourish with the trees for the next 100 years and far beyond.

The people of Galveston have a special connection to our sister city Niigata. We join with the Friendship Blossoms Dogwood Tree Initiative, the people of the United States and our ambassador, Caroline Kennedy, in wishing the people of Niigata and of all of Japan a century of beauty and friendship.

May we all enjoy these beautiful blossoms for years to come.

Stephen F. Duncan lives in Galveston.

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