German-American Day

October 6 is the date in 1683 when 13 German families from Krefeld, near the Rhine, landed in Philadelphia. These families named their settlement Germantown.  “German Day” was first celebrated in Philadelphia in 1883 on the 200th anniversary of the arrival of those first settlers on the ship “Concord”.  Other parts of the country soon celebrated the holiday as well.

The holiday fell out of favor during the two World Wars but was rekindled in 1983 with President Reagan’s proclamation of October 6 as German-American Day to celebrate and honor the 300th anniversary of German immigration to America.   Congress later enacted it as a law.  The President called upon Americans to observe the Day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

First dedicated jointly by President Reagan and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl in 1988, the German-American Friendship Garden was designed by landscape architect Wolfgang Oehme, a member of The German Society of Maryland.  It uses only plants indigenous to both countries.

Since established it has been the site of German-American Day ceremonies conducted by the German-American organizations of the DC, MD & VA area with the German Embassy and the National Park Service.  The Deutschamerikanischer Buergerverein von Maryland is an active participant and supporter of this annual commemoration which includes proclamations from the President of the United States, the Governors of Maryland and Virginia, and the Mayor of the District of Columbia.  Click here for the 2017 Proclamation from the President.

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