Blaring oompah music, bratwurst sizzling on the grill, the strong aroma of sauerkraut and a sparkling mug of Bavarian beer — all the elements of a typical day at Munich’s Oktoberfest.
Except these — minus the beer — were to be enjoyed in the sands of Iraq.
Family Readiness Group members of Company B, 2nd Battalion, 37th Armor Regiment out of Friedberg figured since their soldier husbands couldn’t make it to the biggest beer-drinking festival in the world, they would send the festival to them.
All the fixin’s for a portable Oktoberfest were sent to Iraq, except the beer. Decorations, T-shirts, mugs, music CDs and lots of food were packed up, along with instructions on how to cook it the Bavarian way. Even some traditional games of strength were added to the boxes of goodies to help lifts soldiers’ spirits...
They asked ways of getting the necessities to the troops without any spoiling. A butcher responded by specially making bratwurst and canning them so they would be good for up to a year, making shipping much easier.
Breweries in Munich provided authentic T-shirts, mugs, coasters and decorations.
“I just explained to them what we were trying to do and they said ‘OK, sounds like a great idea. We like Americans and Americans like this fest and beer.’ They gave us everything for free,” Lowe said.
And yesterday the mayors of the German communities in which the 1st Brigade lives threw a free Oktoberfest for all of us "left behind" by our soldiers in Iraq. There was music, games, beer and food.
This wouldn't seem to square with the German governments fierce antiwar position, but there is a direct connection between the Germans and the Americans living among them. And although I missed the remarks made by one of these mayors at the opening of yesterday's event, I was told that he expressed his support for what our soldiers are doing in Baghdad...and the Germans in the audience (who understood what he said before it was translated) applauded loudly.
Ain't that just a kick in the pants?