Chicago, Illinois – The German Unity Day 2017 was celebrated by the United German American Societies of Greater Chicago on Sunday, October 1, 2017 at St. Benedict Church in Chicago, Illinois.
The German American clubs and organizations gathered with their flags and proudly presented them to the tune of “Ode to Joy” in the Sanctuary of the Church.
Vice President Irene Rotter welcomed the dignitaries who took part in the celebration, as well as all the club representatives and guests. In his opening remarks, President Eric Himmel praised the organizations for their exemplary participation, not only at this commemoration, but throughout the year, at the many celebrations and festivals the German American Community fosters and supports.
Conductor Glen Sorgatz led the congregation in singing the American and German anthems in a resounding and heartfelt rendition.
A welcome surprise was the attendance of Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner and his wife. Governor Rauner spoke of the valuable contributions the German immigrants have made to America. Their contributions in culture, education and business have built the foundation of American life and cannot be underestimated. The Governor’s interactions with Germany have been valuable and strengthen the bridges built between the two nations.
The pastor of St. Benedict Church, Rev. Stephen Kanonik, praised the German immigrants for community and adding positively to the mosaic of the American population.
One of the strong and influential German American organizations, is the Deutsch-Amerikanische Kinderchor. It not only fosters and promotes the continuation of the German Song in the USA, but also insures the future of the many choruses still in existence in the Chicago area. Under the direction of Carol Himmel, the children sang several well-known folk tunes.
Helga Zettl, long time secretary of the United German American Organization, read the Salutation and meaning of the celebration of the ‘Tag der Deutschen Einheit’. It was followed by the presentations of the Vereinigten Deutsch Amerikantischen Chöre von Chicago und Umgebung, conducted by Glen Sorgatz. With “Saengergruss”, “In der Ferne” and “Der Einsiedler in der Nacht” they enriched the program with their meaningful selections.
Herbert Quelle, Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany brought forth the History of the German American Community.
Guest Speaker, Harry Kempf, Owner of the Chicago Brauhaus, took the audience down memory lane of the German American Community. As a businessman, he has seen the community grow and prosper and live the American dream. He praised the idealistic men and women who made it their obligation to foster and keep the German song, culture and language in the USA. Thanks to their sacrifices and cooperation, the leaders of the German American Community have built and kept a vibrant ethnic contribution in Chicago.
After the presentations of the Damenchöre and the Gemischten Chor, the inspiring and meaningful celebration was closed with the remarks of Eric Himmel and the singing of “Grosser Gott wir loben Dich”.