By Karl Weisel (USAG Wiesbaden)May 19, 2010
WIESBADEN, Germany - Boy Scouts journeyed back in time May 8 during a ceremony at Wiesbaden's Dorint Pallas Hotel.
As former members of Troop 11 and current members of Troop 65 opened a time capsule placed in 1961 at what was then the U.S. military's General von Steuben Hotel, German and American leaders joined the Scouts in celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America.
"What an excellent idea that the Boy Scouts came up with the idea to encapsulate that time period," said Wiesbaden Lord Mayor Dr. Helmut MAfA1/4ller, alluding to world events such as the Berlin Airlift a decade earlier and the erection of the Berlin Wall and the 50th anniversary of Scouting that year.
With former Wiesbaden Lord Mayor Rudi Schmitt among a host of former German and American Scouts looking on, the sealed metal container was opened and items were taken out one by one to be examined by those who had a hand in placing them 50 years earlier and the younger Scouts intrigued by their history. Among the Scout artifacts were newspapers, photographs, film, Scout manuals and letters from U.S. government leaders.
"This event and the participation of all who are here reflect the great history of cooperation and partnership between the German and American communities in Wiesbaden," said Col. Jeffrey Dill, U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden commander.
Calling the world "a very different place" than today, Dill described how half a century ago when items where carefully placed in the Boy Scout time capsule the world's focus was on the heightened tensions between East and West represented by the construction of the Berlin Wall.
"In 1963 President (John F.) Kennedy actually stayed at this hotel on the way to Berlin for his famous 'jelly doughnut' speech," said Dill, adding that the Kennedy Presidential Suite is named in his honor at the Dorint Pallas Hotel.
"In the time that followed, Germany, Wiesbaden and the U.S. presence here underwent many changes, and the Troop 11 time capsule was all but lost to time. If not for the hotel engineer staff, who knew someone might come looking for this box someday, we might not be celebrating its opening today," Dill said.
USAG Wiesbaden's commander praised the foresight of the German and American Scouts and scout leaders, the Lions Club and city of Wiesbaden, saying, "They gave us a gift capturing Scouting in a world 50 years ago that we can hardly imagine, and one that even now continues to strengthen the bonds of friendship between our German and American communities."
Eric Mowris, one of the members of Troop 11 on hand to witness the time capsule opening shared his memories of an inspirational scoutmaster (Andy Ryan) and how the time capsule served as a tribute to him and the quality of the Boy Scouts.
"The real time capsule was us," said Mowris. "Each of us has grown and given back to our communities. ... What kinds of time capsules are we planting'"
Recognizing how Scouting was an important element in the years after World War II in Germany, bringing youths together, Vince Cazzone, Transatlantic Council scout executive, said, "Scouting takes neighbors and makes them friends."
"In 1960 retired Col. Bob Hemm Sr., who is here today, Andy Ryan and other members of Troop 11 and the Bund Deutscher Pfadfinder in Wiesbaden had a vision that was realized with the help of the Wiesbaden Lions Club," said Col. Kenneth Tarcza, commander of the Defense Contracting Management Agency, Southern Europe, and committee chairman of Troop 65. "Their idea was to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America by creating a time capsule to be opened during the Boy Scouts 100th anniversary year that would serve as a reminder of the friendship of the Federal Republic of Germany and the United States of America through the expression of international Scouting."
Tarcza explained that a monument designed and executed by the citizens of Wiesbaden and placed over the time capsule in 1961 was relocated to the other side of the hotel grounds when the hotel was turned over by the U.S. military to the German authorities and eventually renovated.
The items in the capsule will be permanently stored at the Boy Scouts of America National Headquarters in Irving, Texas.