Washington Area Clubs Celebrate German-American Day in Friendship Garden
Enlarge image German-American Day proclamations from the Governors of Virginia and Maryland, the Mayor of Washington, DC, and German Ambassador Peter Ammon. (© Germany.info) Under cloudless skies on a perfect early fall weather day, representatives of the Association of German-American Societies of Greater Washington (AGAS), the Chicago-based German American National Congress (DANK), and the German-American Heritage Foundation of the USA gathered on the National Mall for the 24th annual celebration of German-American Day.
Gerhard Meinzer, president of AGAS, opened by welcoming attendees to the German-American Friendship Garden, dedicated in 1988 by former U.S. President Ronald Reagan and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and located in a direct line between the White House and the Washington Monument.
Tabea Münz, Pastor for German Ministries at the United Church in Washington, then led a prayer for continued positive relations between the United States and Germany. Those assembled next sang the national anthems of both Germany and the United States.
Enlarge image AGAS member representatives pose for a group photo. (© Germany.info) A message of greeting by German Ambassador Peter Ammon to mark the occasion was delivered by the Head of the Cultural Section of the German Embassy, Bertram von Moltke. In his message the Ambassador noted the huge contributions German immigrants made to shaping the U.S. into the country it is today. “We should not, however, only look back”, Ambassador Ammon said. “The traditionally close and friendly ties between Germany and the United States, which rest on shared values and ideals of democracy, preservation of peace, human rights, and the market economy, form the basis for common action in a rapidly changing world.” Proclamations on the importance of German heritage in the U.S. by Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, Virginia Governor Robert F. McDonnell, and DC Mayor Vincent Gray were also read.
Enlarge image The Washington Sängerbund performs Der Ruf Nach Frieden (A Call for Peace). (© Germany.info) Members of multiple German-American cultural groups attended the ceremony, including representatives from the Mid-Atlantic Germanic Society, Alpine Dancers, Washington Sängerbund, German-American Heritage Museum, historic Prospect Hill Cemetery of Washington, German-American Heritage Society of DC, German European American Society of Norfolk, Virginia, and German Society of Maryland.
The Washington Sängerbund, founded 1851 and the oldest German singing society in the Washington, DC area, concluded the 2011 German-American Day celebrations with a rendition of Der Ruf Nach Frieden (A Call for Peace). Planning for next year’s 25th anniversary celebrations can begin!