Parade salutes mission born on 4th of July
The US Army, Berlin’s Yankee Doodle sweetheart born on the 4th of July, declared it’s independence from this now united and free city with a farewell parade on 4th of Juli Platz. Under a sun that burned bright as a firecracker, 1,000 troops accepted the thanks of Berliners for 49 years of protection and perseverance.
The governing mayor of Berlin spoke of his citizen’s boundless gratitude; three US leaders made it clear that, when it comes to owning a piece of our hearts, Berliners are never, ever leaving the American sector.
“The Americans came and freed us from a totalitarian system,” said the city’s Governing Mayor Eberhard Diegpen. “They fed us. They protected us. They built a new future together with us, and for that we should thank them”
The mayor, joined by Maj. Gen. Walter Yates, commander of the US Army Berlin, affixed honor streamers to the unit guidons as a symbol of his citizens gratitude.
It was July 4th, 1945 that the 2nd Armored Division raised the US flag outside and old radio and telephone factory that became McNair Barracks. As one of the four victorious powers of World War II, the Americans occupied a sector of Berlin under terms of the Potsdam Agreement of July-August 1945.
During the early postwar years, the brigade was known at various times as the Berlin Military Post, Berlin Command, and US Army Garrison, Berlin.
Since Dec. 1 1962, the combat unit has been known as the Berlin Brigade, and it was so closely linked to the city’s lifeline that it was the only unit named after a city.
Through such challenges as the Berlin Blockade in 1948-49, the standoff at Checkpoint Charlie in 1961, the Wall years when US resolve discouraged Soviet invasion, Berliners and the US Army have maintained a warm mutually beneficial relationship.
After reunification in 1990, the US Army in Berlin became more of a partner than a protector. As the brigade transformed itself into a light, air-mobile contingency force, local citizens were often considered the wind beneath the infantryman’s wings
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