Germans and Americans gathered at the Southwest University Ballpark in El Paso to celebrate German-American Night on May 21. The event, which was organized by the German Air Force Air Defense Center, is part of Wunderbar Together.
Before the baseball game began, singer Morgan Bailey performed the German and American national anthems. The game also featured color guards from both countries, a video introducing the German presence in El Paso and a first pitch by Holger Mahnicke, Head of the Communications and Culture Department at the German Embassy.
The Mayor and Council of El Paso also proclaimed May 21 to be known as German-American Friendship Day.
“The City of El Paso appreciates and values our German partners and the cultural and defense alliances they bring to Sun City,” the proclamation reads.
The German military has had a strong presence in El Paso since 1956. Today, there are approximately 80 Germans stationed in El Paso at the German Air Force Air Defense Center in Fort Bliss, which trains service members on the PATRIOT air defense system.
Just hours before the game, eight graduates completed their training at the German Air Defense Center. One of the graduates, Captain Philipp Schönbeck, had the opportunity to be in the color guard.
“It was an honor to be a part of it,” he says. “Not only just for me, but for my whole platoon it was an honor and totally awesome to be a part of.”
While the baseball game was in play, Germans and Americans gathered on the rooftop of the stadium and shared laughter and conversation as the sun set behind the stadium.
“What a wonderful opportunity it is to be part of the German-American friendship this evening,” said American Brigadier General Johnny Davis. “This event shows that we have an enduring relationship that is timeless. Having the Germans here at Fort Bliss is just a wonderful experience to meet and greet them each and every single day.”
By Nicole Glass, German Embassy