July 4, 1994 is a great day in the lives of all Berliners' - Yates

Soldiers of the Berlin Brigade and the Berlin military community, today is the 4th of July -- a great day in the lives of all Americans. Today marks the 2 18th anniversary of American independence. The beginning of the dream -- the dream of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The dream that our forefathers held dear, the dream of the freedoms guaranteed in our constitution. We have just witnessed a flag ceremony honoring our great states and our great territories and our great nation. You soldiers on parade are a grand and moving sight for all of us to behold. From every state and territory of our land, you embody the best our nation has to offer. You are a credit to our profession and the country you serve. You are the reason -- you are the firm foundation on which our nation is built, continues to grow, to prosper and to lead. Today is a great day in the lives of all Berliners. Today marks the 49th anniversary of the day our predecessors marched into this great city and guaranteed its independence. Today ends the 49th year of our presence here and begins our 50th year. However, we will not complete our 50th year of service here. On the seventh of September we will lower the flag of the United States of America from over Clay Headquarters for the last time and depart the capital of a reunited Germany. The American soldiers and the Berliners have weathered may storms and faced many perils together. The blockade of 1948, the airlift of 1948-49, the infamous wall that in 196 1 attempted to imprison us all, the standoff at Checkpoint Charlie, the collapse of the wall in 1989 and the reunification of Germany in 1990. But the American soldier and the Berliners continued to work together through Desert Storm when we deployed over 500 soldiers from Berlin, during our deployment of a battalion to Turkey and through our deployments to Kenya and to Macedonia. Soldiers of the Berlin Brigade, it is important that you know that you and your predecessors were unique. You are the only American combat organization that is named for a city -- Berlin. It is important that you know and remember that you served in a historic place during historic times. You were not on the sidelines of the Cold War. You were center stage. And you did your job extremely well. The Cold War started right here in Berlin, and it ended right here and the Berlin Brigade and military community were center stage. And you were not on the sidelines of peacekeeping and other operations that have followed the Cold War -- you were center stage in Saudi Arabia and Iraq, in Turkey, in Kenya, Croatia and in Macedonia. We could not have successfully executed all these missions without the outstanding and sustained support of our civilian employees and family members. For your great service and sacrifice and that of your families and our civilians, you were recognized with Fahrenbaender by the Governing Mayor. For that Mr. Mayor, we thank you. You are the greatest soldiers that I have ever had the opportunity to serve with and for that I thank you. And to you dearest Berliners; the time is rapidly approaching when we will leave you. I would only ask that you remember all the great challenges we faced together, all the great sacrifices that we made together. It will not be an easy parting because we love you so much. When asked, soldiers often do not have a home town. 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.

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