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Friday, September 15th 2006

11:16 AM

History of Bitburg

Hailo Friends

 

I know it’s been a while. The summer has taken its toll as usual. I didn’t get the chance to run off to cooler zones for any length of time, so maybe next year. I’ve had a bit of financial woes as well but enough of that

 

Picking up where I left off.

Oh yeah Germany

How about a little history...

Extracted from the Sky Blazer 1970 as it was written then…

 

Bitburg is a bustling town of about 11,000 people. It is an important center of transportation in the Eifel region as well as a thriving farming, brewing and light manufacturing area.

It was not always been such, however for the towns history is long and turbulent. Almost 2000 years of marching armies and political upheaval have left their marks on the area.

Bitburg was settled about 200 B.C. by the Celts who built a fort which they called Beda on the hilltop where the city hall now stands. Since they traded with the neighboring tribe, the Treverer of Trier, there was a road from Beda to Trier by 100B.C.

The Romans came in about51 B.C. to begin an occupation which lasted until 400 A.D. They built a road to Cologne which enabled travelers to make the journey from Trier to Beda in one day.

Beda was the main town in the surrounding area and the Romans tried to make it a cultural canter by building a small theater and villas. They fortified Beda by building a wall and 13 round towers around the town. A section of the wall may still be seen today.

When the Romans withdrew, the franks from the east of the Rhine moved into the area along the Trier-Cologne road. Their influence is still noticeable in the many town names, ending in ingen, heim and dorf.

Along with the Franks came a new method of agriculture, the three-field crop rotation system, with increased crop production in the Eifel region.

Frankish documents are rare, but one such document from the 715 refers to Bitburg as the fortified city of Bedense. This is the first recorded mention of Bitburg and has become the official starting point of reference fir historians of the city.

When Charlemagne died the Frankish empire was divided and the Bitburg area became the subject of continuous warfare among various German princes and Luxembourg. In 1239 Luxembourg was able to acquire Bitburg County and hold it for the next 500 years.

In 1260 Bitburg was granted the rights of a free city which meant considerable freedom in the political and administrative matters with only a general allegiance to the Count of Luxembourg.

At this time Luxembourg was being passed among larger powers. For awhile it was part of Bergundy and in 1506 the Spanish Netherlands. During this period the city streets of Bitburg were laid out much as they today.

Spanish rule meant a time of war and plagues for Bitburg During the so called 30 years war in the 17th century the Eifel region was a battle ground for the Spanish, Austrian French, Dutch and Swedish armies. A Swedish army laid siege to Bitburg in 1632 fir several months but gave up when a group of boys dressed in goat skins ran about the city walls making it appear that the towns people had plenty of meat.

The town was not so lucky1667 when the French marshal Crecy captured the town and had the mayor and city councilmen hung. Two years later he had the town destroyed so that only the church remained standing. The marshal is still remembered in Bitburg. When things are going badly for a person, he is likely to comment. “Es geht Mir Crecy.”

From1714 to 1795 Bitburg came under the rule of Austria and the city again became a commercial center with the reduced trade restriction and safer travel.

France annexed the area next but the fall of Napoleon, Bitburg became part of Prussia Rhine province. This led to the German empire in 1870. Bitburg emerged as an important agricultural and commercial center as well as a crossroads for the Eifel region.

World War I was hard on the Bitburg, 110 local soldiers died in France. During World War II the town was destroyed. It had been a supply and communications center during the Battle of the Bulge. On December 24th 1944 about 85 percent of the town was in ruins.

After the war Bitburg and the rest of Germany began the job of rebuilding that was so successful, that the city one sees today is almost entirely the same since built in 1945.

In 1952 the American 36th came to Bitburg to start its base on what had been farmland and became the latest in the long line of military forces to post in the area.

The above article was in my memoir files and has been keep sake since.

 

To continue...  My Life as I remember It

 

So we paid a visit to my Grand Parents in El Paso and I informed Randy my child hood friend there we would be moving over seas to Germany in Europe. We reminisced about the soldiers we had collected. (While in Austin I obtained ironically some very unique plastic WW II toy soldiers, American as well as German; some in very graphic poses of blazing machine guns and faces that held the tight grimace of battle cries.)

I later was given presents from my Grand Parents. Two GI JOE’s one French resistance soldier and one German commander, both the most unique in nature that was ever made by the Hasbro co. for the collection. (Later I was also given a Chinese GI Joe Soldier as well.) These editions carried the facial features of the people in the each respected region but also to include was the infamous scar across the cheek. I can’t express the meaning of these gifts for a young boy of my era. Many moments of thought and introspective reasoning went into this new emotion of coming to terms with cultures of the world and prospective soldiers in full military dress.

We spent some very wrenching tearful moments with our Grand Parents and family as we prepared to leave for a three year tour out of the US. I remember walking down the side walk to our car in front of friends and neighbors who came to say bon voyage or just happened to be outside on the morning of our departure and heard of our military orders to go to Germany. We all were balling our eyes out as we suffered greatly to see our Grand Parents waving good bye as us three kittens grappled in the rear window space to see them for the last seconds before they disappeared into time and the past and we began to look forward into the future. My Uncle Guy a motorcycle policeman was waiting at the stop sign and escorted us a bit further. Little did we know My Mothers Brother, who was a character cut straight out of a Coppolla novel, would die while on duty and this would be the last time we’d ever see him. It was a long drive to the airport and some waiting as I can remember once again going over my entire life in my mind and reminiscing all the emotions and feelings that each strange adventure brought my way.

The next I remember was getting on and taking off for the first time in a jet plane, as I listened to the pre roar of the engines winding up and the release to gain maximum speed, I felt a new sensation of the G force press against my cheek bones and chest. We kept going faster and faster down the runway suddenly lifting off in a mechanical float and then watching the city of El Paso turn into the tiny bustle of micro cars, streets, desert plants, and mountainous terrain as we ascended into the puffy clouds and bright shiny sun. We had several stops and plane changes as we made our way across the States. In particular Louisiana where when we walked across the tarmac the humidity was drenching and ungodly. We kept running into military aides and sponsors who were there to guide us. Always strange characters like John Candy in Sunglasses and holding a handkerchief talking in a think Cajun accent guiding us to the next plane hop. Or Tommy Lee Jones from The Men in Black who met us in New York and placed us on the most gigantic plane of the entire day and only to be told that it would be an 8 hour flight across the Atlantic to Frankfurt.

I remember watching the Sun Set as we took off into the orange and blue sky and seeing the massive ocean turn from a dark blue to black which ever increasingly turned blacker and blacker outside enveloping the entire plane. Not a star to be seen; when our attention was drawn to the flight attendants who were called stewardesses back then and these ladies dressed in tight skirts and Go Go boots. They were all so very friendly and they spoke with slight German accents. They said your assimilation to German culture starts here and by the time we reach the Rhineland you will all be familiar with sights and sounds and tastes of Germany. Then they wheeled out a cart with bratwurst and brochen bread rolls and so my sisters and I looked at the strange new food and tasty aroma that filled the air as they began to deliver to everyone on the Double Decker plane and pass us a brochure magazine with happy scenes from this new wondrous land we were in pursuit of.

 

 

The above picture is me as a boy in Germany some where on the outskirt of the city of Bitburg. My Mother sent home this shot to my Grand Mother saying that life was a bit rough in our new home but we were slowly getting use to the change. But she wasn't sure how I was doing. I don't remember having this shot taken at all. If you look in the windows you'll start to see ghosts and a tiny angel hovers in the center. Who knows what story this house holds but I think...

 

The little house is haunted and was once owned by Ronnie James Dio. Later on Led Zeppelin took a shot of the Hermit (with the sticks on his back) for the Zolo LP from a  picture on the wall. Just Kidding... 

 

 

My Life as I Remember It.

For More Episodes in this Series

Follow the links below

Part      1   2   3   4   5

 

 

Bitburg Web Cam

 

Maps

5 Friends and Lovers.

Posted by *Gabriel (thestrokeshabit)*:

Be my friend
THAT HOUSE LOOKS VERY OLD.
Sunday, September 24th 2006 @ 9:40 AM

Posted by Michael Flynn:

Well Hello Lil stranger...Thanks for stopping by.
Yes that house looks and old and probably went through and survived World War Two, or WWII as they say. I wonder if it just finally deterorated and became a ruin of the field. No worry however I think I took the Ghosts with me. LOL
Sunday, September 24th 2006 @ 9:58 AM

Posted by Wendy:

Hello Mike, wanted to thank you once again for a thoroughly interesting & entertaining read, & for informing us with the history of Bitburg as well!
Much love & many kisses
Friday, September 29th 2006 @ 3:11 AM

Posted by Michael Flynn:

Thanks For dropping by and leaving me a little comment Wendy. Everything I do is for you.
Much Love and Many Kisses 2 U Honey!
Saturday, September 30th 2006 @ 2:02 PM

Posted by Sparkle:

It's been sometime indeed, great to see you back angel, take care of you
Monday, October 23rd 2006 @ 3:20 AM