Friday, July 02, 2004


Perhaps its because of a lingering fear of THE POWER I haven't mentioned much about the preparations going on around here to be ready for the return of the 1st Brigade.

About 150 Soldiers have already returned...they are the so-called Advance Party...sent back to do things to ease the arrival of the main body.

I work on Ray Barracks in Friedberg...(Army home to Elvis back in '59-'60.) It is a fairly small piece of real estate, fenced off from the rest of Germany...our own little part of the world that is part German, part American in flavor. Some of the buildings that serve as barracks or headquarters actually date back to the 2d World War.

Being the home of this brigade, a part of the 1st Armor Division, this post is decorated with at least five different US Tanks (also WWII era) plus an Iraqi tank captured during the Desert Storm. We have lots of fencing here, because the tank units and the mechanized infantry units require pretty good space to park their tanks and their infantry fighting vehicles (when they are here!). These fences surround these parking areas...and have proven to be handy for the zillions of welcome home banners and yellow ribbons and flags that are springing up every day.

This morning I noted that the workers who normally look after the physical plant of the installation were hanging US and German flags from lamp posts all over the installation. The flags are mounted vertically, attached to a rod across the top (short) edge of the flag.

Perhaps it is just me but that way of displaying the flag strikes me as rather German or European or something. Nonetheless, all these flags add a certain continuity of special dressing-up to the whole place.

And then there are the banners. Hundreds of them, so far. Hung along the fences at each unit's motor pool. Some are store bought...some were designed by spouses but professionally printed, and some are hand painted or spray paint on bedsheets. Each to one's own level of artistic ability for sure.

OH...and I don't want to forget the "plastic cup art". I'd never seen this before but now we have American flags and yellow riboons, even a 1st Armor Division patch on the fences, made entirely from plastic cups. (See here if you've no idea what in the blue heck I'm talking about. Our are made from the Solo plastic cups one can buy at the grocery...not these special ones from this company.)

The parade field has been recently mowed. And every curb, parking lot stipe, even rocks serving as markers for this or that, all of these are newly painted courtesy of the rear-detachment soldiers who for whatever reason did not deploy to Iraq.

Out the back gate is the largest yellow ribbon bow I've ever seen. It is easily 15 feet across, at least 12 feet tall.

Small American flags seemingly have been attached to nearly every fence post, plus nearly any other stationary object on post. Where do these come from? In most cases they come from a couple of motivated spouses who have invested their time and money to make it look as it ought to look for Soldiers returning after 14 months.

We're getting close.

I won't mention the specific date I'm expecting my darling wife home...I'm still too superstitious.

I'll just say "soon". Not soon enough. But soon.


beckie said...

Nope, never heard of cup art either, so thanks for the link. How incredible. Please, please take brings tears to my eyes to think of the wonderful welcome that these deserving soldiers will receive. May it be soon!

Anonymous said...

I would also love to see this "cup art" that is decorating the base. If anyone takes pictures, please post it on your website. I would really love to see it in person. We actually considered coming to Germany to greet our son when he gets off the plane, but we are saving our vacation time to spend with him here in the states.

I also would like to see your project when it's done. Capt. Patti will know a LOT of love when into it!

Our thanks to all those on the base for welcoming all of our soldiers back!!!

Cathy - Proud Army Mom