150 Jahre Delphos

Am 7. Februar fand in Delphos die erste Feier im Jahr 2001 zum 150-jährigen Bestehen der Stadt Delphos statt. In der Knights-of-Columbus-Hall versammelten sich über 140 Menschen. Der Abend wurde - wie schon 1999 die feierliche Gründung der Städtepartnerschaft zwischen Verl und Delphos - von Bob Ulm moderiert. Im Laufe des Jahres werden weitere Feierlichkeiten folgen, vor allem zum amerikanischen Nationalfeiertag am 4. Juli.

Bei der Feier gab es deutsches Essen und deutsche Getränke, Vorträge des deutschen Chores ("German Choir") und viele andere nette Details, die an die Gründung der Stadt Delphos durch Deutsche erinnern sollten. Zum Beispiel erschien Polly Geise in einem wunderhübschen Kleid ganz im Stil der Gründungszeit von Delphos. Polly ist besonders stolz darauf, dass der Ururgroßvater ihres Mannes, Caspar Geise, zur allerersten Siedlergruppe gehörte, die nach Delphos kam.

Da aus der Partnergemeinde Verl leider keine Abordnung zu dieser ersten Feier anreisen konnte, sandten Bürgermeister Klaus Hörsting für die Gemeinde Verl und Frithjof Meissner für den Heimatverein Grußbotschaften, die beim Festbankett von Helen Kaverman verlesen und am folgenden Tag im Delphos Herald abgedruckt wurden.

Hier nun die Grußbotschaften im Wortlaut:

Für die Gemeinde Verl die Grußbotschaft von Klaus Hörsting, dem Bürgermeister der Gemeinde Verl:

Dear friends in Delphos,

The citizens of Verl, the town council and the municipal administration would like to congratulate the town of Delphos on its 150th founding anniversary with a very hearty "hipp-hipp-hurrah!"

We wish the town of Delphos and all its citizens the best of luck and God's blessing for the future.

We hope that your gala-dinner this evening will be a great success.

The town and citizens of Verl are joined in spirit with you in your celebrations!

Our warmest regards,

                                        Klaus Hörsting
                                        Mayor of Verl

Für den Heimatverein die Grußbotschaft von Frithjof Meissner, dem Vorsitzenden der Arbeitsgruppe "Partnerschaft Verl-Delphos" im Heimatverein Verl e.V.:

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, dear children,

This is a big day today for you and for the City of Delphos, your hometown, the place where most of you were born, the place that most of you will never leave in order to go and live somewhere else. Today you start celebrating the 150th birthday of your city, the so-called Sesquicentennial (a word hard to pronounce for a foreigner like me, only knowing a few words of your language).

But how did the whole thing start? In the beginning there were misery and very poor living conditions, so poor that thousands of people died of hunger, malnutrition and illness. This, however, did not happen in America, it happened in the Old World, in Germany - to be precise, in Westphalia, here where I am now sitting writing this letter to you!

And in the beginning there was a vision, the vision of a man who could see and think further than most of his fellowmen - the vision that every man, woman, child and baby had the right to live a life in happiness and freedom. He was a man of the church, the eldest son of a farming family in Verl: Johannes Otto Bredeick, born in the year of the French Revolution which today seems to be an omen for the way he lived his life, not content with what he had for himself, but trying to make others happy, too and to make them take their lives into their own hands, to make them take responsibility for their own luck - right in the spirit of the French Revolution.

You all know what happened next, that Father Bredeick convinced the poor people with no hope for the future to break up all bridges behind them and to make the big big step over the Atlantic Ocean. Imagine what it meant for them to say goodbye to their neighbors, friends, relatives, even to their parents and brothers and sisters - and to know exactly that this would be a farewell forever. These people were special, and they were YOUR ancestors. You can be proud of them and thereby also of yourselves and your families today, because all the good traits of character of the pioneers are still alive in Delphos as I saw when we visited your city.

Your hospitality is great and we have found many good friends in your city, friends that are welcome to stay in our city and in our homes anytime whenever they travel across the Atlantic Ocean from West to East, like last summer when we could welcome a group from Delphos in Verl. Christine, my wife and Father Bredeick's great-great-great-grand-nice, was so happy to get to know her real American relative, her cousin Sue, who was in the Delphos group and who stayed at Father Bredeick's homestead in Verl, the place where he was born and passed his early years before he left to become a priest.

The visits of 1995, 1999 and 2000 have established this wonderful friendship link between our cities and we are all very proud of what we have achieved so far. But there is still a lot to do. Right now, Cindy Kayser and Maryalice Davey are looking for families among you who are willing to host a German student for three months in the autumn of this year 2001. If you think that the friendship link is something that you want to support, please contact them and take a German student, open your home for a young person who wants to get to know America, the Americans and especially your part of this wonderful country.

This is where the circle becomes round again: 150 years ago, people from Westphalia made Delphos a city and 150 years later young Westphalians would like to come and visit the city that their ancestors built. There has been a great development during the last one and a half centuries, not only as far as transport and the length of the journey are concerned, but also as far as the city of Delphos itself is concerned. But there has definitely not been a change in the good hearts, in the openness and in the hospitality that people on both sides of the Atlantic have. We hope that our youngsters can come to your city and we invite all your young people to come and visit our city anytime they want to. We will hold our doors wide open for them, but not only for them. We are waiting for all of you with our arms open to hug our American friends.

God bless you all,
                                        Frithjof Meissner
                                        President of the Verl-Delphos Friendship Link
                                        in the Historical Society Verl

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