USAG Bavaria celebrates its new Freedom Road

By USAG Bavaria PAOJune 16, 2023

USAG Bavaria celebrates its new Freedom Road
USAG Bavaria garrison commander Col. Kevin A. Poole and two of the youngest audience members of the street dedication ceremony, June 14, reveal the new street sign at Tower Barracks, Germany. (Photo Credit: Natalie Simmel) VIEW ORIGINAL

TOWER BARRACKS, Germany – U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria held a ceremony to rename what had formerly been Lee Street to Freedom Road June 14, 2023.

In an effort by the Department of Defense to remove reference to Confederate military leaders, the Army is renaming posts, streets and more named after Confederates who waged war against the United States, largely to protect and expand the slave trade.

USAG Bavaria identified four streets across the installations that were named after confederate generals or campaigns in which the confederacy won during the Civil War. Lee Street at Tower Barracks is one of them.

Lee, a slaveholder, was the Confederacy’s most renowned general, and his forces inflicted tens of thousands of casualties on Union Soldiers at Antietam, Gettysburg and Manassas.

“We are not erasing history; I see it as reframing history and looking at it through a different lens,” said USAG Bavaria commander Col. Kevin A. Poole. "Respect General Lee, study him, look to his examples of how to lead soldiers and examples of leadership, but I think it probably ends there. There is a difference between revering them [confederate generals] and memorializing them.”

The name Freedom Road commemorates the freeing of the slaves in 1865.

“This dedication ceremony represents a step forward in acknowledging our complex past while celebrating our future and our inclusivity in fostering a unified community,” said Poole. “And today is an opportunity to celebrate our values and the principles of equality, justice, and respect for all. In dedicating Freedom Road, we take the opportunity to honor the ideals that unite us as opposed to the once that divide us.”

During the ceremony Vilseck High school students Danielle Boone and Julia Yaeger read their Juneteenth original poetry:


Juneteenth, And

By Danielle Boone

“We want what we cannot have,” but that is simply untrue

Years of being beaten, bullied, bruised


June nineteenth eighteen sixty-five, the very last knew…

They were finally free.

Free to speak their minds

Free to live their lives, as people and not machines

“May we forever stand”

As we scramble through this world and grasp what we deserve


Life still isn’t glitter and gold because some people despise our tones

Our alluring tones of browns and as deep as it will go

Tones that reveal our mind, our strive, our soul, a people of free-spirit

Free, free, free at last!

June nineteenth eighteen sixty-five

June nineteenth

A day to celebrate a group of people who now thrive

Our music, our fashion, our food

We are the muse

Our inventions, our discoveries, our talents

We are enlightened

Our history, our doctors, our teachers

We are the past, present and future


A day of rejoice, recollection, celebration


The Importance of Remembrance

By Julia Yeager

We have come so far

We have raised the bar

Supposedly we have equality

Something lacking throughout history

We used to segregate

But don’t we still?

The pain has yet to alleviate

Feels like it never will

In need of a new way

We must prevent

Such tragedy cannot replay

That is why we celebrate this event

"I would love the community to know that this is very important, not only to selected people but to everyone as a whole," said Boone. ”We are moving forward and we are making smaller changes to show the improvement that we have made. Even though to some people it may seem insignificant or not necessary, this is a big change, and it can lead to bigger things."

The ceremony ended with Poole and two of the youngest audience members revealing the new street sign.

After the ceremony, Brig. Gen. Joseph E. Hilbert, commander of 7th Army Training Command, and other distinguished guests joined Col. Poole and the eventgoers on a freedom walk to the USO Juneteenth event.

On the way participants stopped at the flagpole in front of 7th ATC headquarters to observe the flag retreat to honor flag day.

Pictures of this event can be viewed here: