Leadership from the KMC joined the Kaiserslautern German-American and International Women’s Club, the Atlantic Academy Kaiserslautern, the Docu Center Ramstein and key leaders from local communities around Ramstein to celebrate German-American Day Nov. 5 in Landstuhl.
German-American Day was designated by former president Ronald Reagan to remember Oct. 6, 1683, when 13 German families arrived near Philadelphia and founded Germantown, the first German settlement in the new world, and to honor the contributions of German immigrants in the progress of America since.
Today, Germans and Americans come together to honor the relationship developed in the Kaiserslautern community since the first U.S. aircraft arrived at Ramstein in 1952.
“It is our great pleasure to host German-American Day here in Landstuhl,” said Dr. Peter Degenhardt, Landstuhl Union Community mayor. “We are more than pleased to have you here because Germans and Americans have been living together for quite a long time, which has already brought a good relationship. However, to keep that relationship up means we have to work on it. We have to keep it alive with activities, events and discussions. Thank you for being here, and I hope that we can all take new ideas and (food for thought) back home in order to improve our relationships and live better together.”
During the event, members of the GAIWC also recognized Petra Lessoing, 86th Airlift Wing public affairs specialist, for her commitment to the German-American friendship. Lessoing, who has been part of the Ramstein family for more than 32 years, was an interpreter with the installation’s military working dog unit before joining the public affairs team, where she has managed and written for the Kaiserslautern American newspaper for 22 years.
Brig. Gen. Richard G. Moore Jr., 86th Airlift Wing commander, thanked Lessoing for her help in educating Americans about life in the community, which has set the stage for thousands upon thousands of forged friendships.
“Petra has been a part of our family for more than 32 years, and I’d like not to miss the opportunity to say thanks. This partnership is truly important to us,” Moore said. “Your work allows the American community to stay informed of all the things that happen in the local community and different ways we can share in German culture.”
Moore also thanked the hosts of the event and highlighted some of the amazing work the military and local community have been able to accomplish over the years. He mentioned Ramstein’s reinvigorated apprenticeship program, the military police partnership within the 569th U.S. Forces Police Squadron and shared cultural events on and off base.
“Thank you, as well, to all who are with us today,” Moore said. “It warms my heart to see so many friends and family here to celebrate German-American Day, where we honor the lasting friendship and commitment between our two nations. It is my pleasure to represent both the thousands of Airmen on Ramstein and the more than 57,000 service members and families of the Kaiserslautern Military Community. The friendship between our two nations is strong, and I look forward to continuing to work and live together, making our community a wonderful place to live.”