“To you, dearest Berliners, I would only ask that you remember all the great challenges that we faced together, all the great sacrifices that we made together and the great rewards that we gathered together,” said Maj. Gen. Yates. “It will not be an easy parting because we love you so much. When asked, soldiers do not often have a hometown. But for all of us who served in this great city, we will always answer—my hometown is Berlin. Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called children of God”
Ambassador Richard Holbrooke traced the history of the US Army’s bonding with the Berliners, and described the soldiers as “The most powerful yet simplest symbol of our nations commitment to defend freedom.”
Holbrooke, soon the take over as the assistant US Secretary of State for European Affairs, noted that 65,000 soldiers will remain in Germany indefinitely. “We have been asked to stay, and we will,” he said to thunderous applause.
Gen. David Maddox, commander of the US Army in Europe, praised Berliners, recounted his own memories of service in Germany, saluted the 1,000 helmeted, M-16 with bayonet-toting troops. “You are living testimony to our profession of arms in service of democracy…succeeding magnificently. You have been the lead element in our various missions…from standing down threats at Checkpoint Charlie to testing the theory of preventative deployments in Macedonia. Two gratefull nations appreciate your work.”
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