Tip O'Neill is credited for remarking that "All politics are local". But here, at the local level, international politics don't interfere with the German-American bonds.
When word started to spread last week that a small advance team of 1st Cavalry Regiment troops was leaving Iraq for the friendly confines of Armstrong Barracks, Claudia Trupp knew it was knot time.
So Trupp, a German who works in Büdingen, drove out of her way that day to buy more than 1,600 feet of yellow ribbon, and then spent the night with four other volunteers making bows for the Joes heading home. By noon the next day, about 150 ribbons adorned parts of downtown Büdingen, from trees to an old castle gate.
The U.S. soldiers stationed in Büdingen “are a part of city life,” said Manfred Hix, the deputy mayor.
Ties run deep between this city of 9,000 people and the 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment of the 1st Armored Division. About 2,000 Americans live in the community, according to Wolfgang Niebling, a 414th Base Support Battalion spokesman.
German officials, residents and shopkeepers go out of their way to make their American guests feel at home. In return, Americans are heavily involved in community activities, and have been for nearly 60 years.
Two years ago, when a flood threatened the old city center and its historic walls and gate, about 50 U.S. soldiers volunteered in the dead of night to help local crews fill sandbags and stem the rising water. They succeeded, and were later lauded by the mayor for their efforts.