Thursday, 13 June 2013

re-flagging or from blueberry hill to bath in the meadows

I was disappointed to learn that after years of digging in her heels, credulous with disbelief and subject to politics and planning that were not exactly rooted in reason that I missed the official ceremony that was the city of Heidelberg's final relenting—held literally just around the corner.

The transfer of authority signaled the end after some sixty eight years the hosting of the headquarters of the American Army in Europe passing on to the fair city of Wiesbaden. The colours for the historic V Corps, a tenant unit, were cased, and it was a bit like rethinking tradition and memory, however antiquated, same-otherwise and as a practical exercise. I have plenty of nice recollections from Heidelberg as well, as many others come forward. A lot could be be said regarding the decision, set in motion quite some time ago but without real momentum or the garnering of an abundance of enthusiasm—as with past rounds of base closures that seemed arbitrary and even counter-productive—including the choice for the location of the event.
The parade-grounds were not on the air field in Wiesbaden, were the headquarters are being built, but rather the venue chosen was the palatial gardens of Schloss Biebrich on the Rhine. I think that the decision for the setting was more than just aesthetic—with no viable location on base, due to on going construction and severe over-crowding and a sanctioned protest rally planned for the same day by the post's German neighbours to complain about the worsening noise from night-time training flights. I am sorry that I only found out about this occasion too late to see it in person and hope that there were not too many inauspicious omens for the exchange and we will see what the transformation brings in the next few years.