'The Lead element on our hardest mission' - Maddox

July 4, 1994 is a great day for the city of Berlin, for all of Germany and America. I am delighted and humbled -- to commemorate this day with you -- an Independence Day that is shared by Berliners and its brigade and by Americans and German everywhere. What a great day! A day that will stand out in history, in your memories, a day never to be forgotten. A day where half a century of memories meets a new epoch of opportunities. A day of great sadness, but of still greater triumph and hope. I have been part of the memories; I share your sadness as the Berlin Brigade prepares to depart; but I also share optimism for a great, still-shared future. I was serving in Germany when the wall went up; I was serving in Germany when it came crashing down -- and I thank God that I can still be serving here today to witness the culmination of most of your lives' work. Soldiers of the Berlin Brigade, you look great! You are a living testimony to our profession of arms in service of democracy. . . succeeding magnificently! You have stood toe to toe against potential adversaries, and through your discipline, training, readiness and leadership you have deterred conflict. You have gained the peace, kept the peace . . . you have been providers of comfort and able sentries . . . on three continents. You have been the lead element on our hardest missions . . , from standing down threats at Checkpoint Charlie to testing the theory of preventive deployments in Macedonia. Soon we will say "Mission complete; well done; and take your soldiers home." Two grateful nations appreciate your work, yet to a great degree, you won't be going home; you'll be leaving home. Citizens of Berlin and friends of the American Army: You are the reason we are here today. For nearly half a century, you have symbolized what we all have stood for -- you have been the vanguard, the single light of democracy behind the darkness of the iron curtain. You have been the example, the inspiration for people everywhere who have yearned to follow in your footsteps. You have been courageous pioneers for democracy. You have kept the faith through the adversity of blockade, of isolation, of confronting face-to-face oppression . . . and you have held firm, triumphed and won the greatest of all prizes. And in the process, you have been great hosts, great friends, and great supporters of our soldiers, civilians and their families, From teaching your language, culture and customs to opening your homes and taking care of our families as if they were your families while your brigade was deployed. Citizens of Berlin, on behalf of the United States Army in Europe, I thank you for all that you have done for our soldiers -- for those you see here today and for their forebears for nearly half a century. Words cannot express all that you have given us or the depth of your gratitude -- but I can tell you, as Walt Yates has told you, that you have won their hearts -- forever. They are not just the Berlin Brigade, they are Berlin's Brigade -- and you have allowed them the honor to carry your name. . . a name they will treasure as they, too, will always say "I am a Berliner.'' Berlin Brigade and Berliners -- thank you for your great efforts that allow us to celebrate together today. God bless you.

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