The bonds of seventy-two years of friendship with the people of Arlington’s sister city of Bad Konigshofen, Germany was celebrated last month during their delegation’s week-long visit here.
Each day was filled with activities for the more than 30 visitors, accompanied by Arlington friends, who explored the city taking in all the things that make Arlington a special place like tours of the Downtown Library, UT Arlington, the AISD’s Dipert Career Tech Center, AT&T Stadium, and Globe Life Field.
A highlight event occurred at the old railroad platform where in 1952 the first of four separate shipments of supplies needed to support daily life were sent from Arlington residents to the people of the small border town recovering from the ravages of the Second World War.
Arlington Mayor Jim Ross and his Bad Konigshofen counterpart, Burgermeister (German for “Mayor”) Thomas Helbling executed a formal renewal of the relationship known throughout both cities as “Solid as a Rock.”
Both mayors commented on having the privilege of leading their two cities in celebrating the longest sister-city relationship in the country.
There were three new Texas Historical Commission historical markers dedicated portraying accounts of the establishment of Arlington, the train depot and platform, and the beginning of the sister city relationship.
Throughout the more than seven decades of the connection between the two cities there have been a number of trips where three generations of people of both cities could learn more about the culture and history of their respective hometowns.
Former Mayor Richard Greene, speaking at the ceremony, recognized his former executive assistant, Lynda Freeman Weekley, for her tenacity in encouraging him to have the city more formally engaged with the officials and citizens of Bad Konigshofen.
That initiative resulted in Greene and his wife Sylvia leading the first Arlington delegation to Bad Konigshofen in 1988. The exchange of many visits in both directions across the Atlantic then developed over the years with the latest culminating with last month’s occasion.
Greene cited among the most memorable as being the celebrations, 25 years apart, of Bad Konigshofen’s 1250th and 1275th anniversaries of the town’s founding. “Those festivities reminded us that their town is more than a thousand years older than our country.”
Former Arlington city council member Sheri Capehart, who chairs the sister city program, assisted by city staff, and with volunteers from the Sister Cities of Arlington group, planned and organized the week’s events and the recommitment signing ceremony with its historical markers.