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Text of statement by Mayor Gysberts

March 28, 2013

Statement on behalf of Hagerstown Mayor David S. Gysberts regarding his comments made Tuesday to visiting students from Wesel, Germany, provided by city spokeswoman Erin Wolfe:
 
 "During my recent discussion with students from our Sister City in Wesel, Germany, I allowed some comments concerning my frustration with urban renewal to come across in a way that some people may have found offensive. I first want to express my regret and apologies to anyone who was offended by my comment. I certainly understand the devastation of war on all sides that we as a world faced during that tumultuous time in our history.
 
"I greatly value our Sister City relationship and the opportunities it affords us to learn from our individual and shared histories as cities and as nations but most importantly as human beings. War is never the solution to solving the major problems that face us, especially when we are equipped with so many better means to accomplish our goals. I proudly appreciate my Hagerstown heritage and I am fascinated by the accomplishments of our Sister City, Wesel, in rebuilding a vibrant and elegant city in the wake of World War II. It leaves me to wonder about the 'what if's' of our own past and also for our future here in Hagerstown.
 
"While that was something I was trying to convey, I didn't accomplish that goal. For that, I am sorry. I express my regrets to our Sister City group here in Hagerstown and the dedicated citizens who work with the organization. I also express my apologies to the officials in Wesel and the people of their community. Most importantly, I want to convey to the young people I spoke with yesterday that I did not intend to make light of the loss that their parents and grandparents may have experienced first-hand."

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