Ehingen had never seen such a large number of soldiers in colourful jackets before, with more than 50 militia corps announcing their presence at the national meeting on 23 and 24 September 2023. Around 1500 city soldiers marched into the stadium on Saturday evening for the „Big tattoo“.
It was the first joint tattoo of the civil defence corps of Württemberg-Hohenzollern and Baden-Südhessen; only in 1956 had there been a joint parade. “The Baden-Württemberg idea is thus brought to life,” said the commander of the Württemberg-Hohenzollern corps, Colonel iTR Jürgen Rosenäcker. Correspondingly, there was also the interest of the people who sat and stood close together in the stands, including the head of the House of Württemberg, Duke Wilhelm, with his speaker Joachim Butz. On behalf of the UEHMG, President Major General iTR Michael Blaha, MSc, personally attended the two-day celebrations.
Interior minister of Baden-Württemberg, Thomas Strobl, was escorted to the stadium by chief mayor Alexander Baumann, mayor Tobias Huber and state parliament member and parliamentary group leader Manuel Hagel. All spectators would have liked a little more illumination in the stadium, because unfortunately they couldn’t see much of the colorful uniforms of the more than 50 corps, but everyone was still greeted with lots of applause.
The commander of the Ehinger militia, Captain iTR Josef Stocker, took over the report to the two national commanders, Colonel iTR Jürgen Rosenäcker and Colonel iTR Hans-Joachim Böhm, “Big tattoo started”. Then followed the serenade, played by the marching band of the Ehingen militia.
An important part of the national meeting was the handover of the national standard from the organizer of the last Württemberg-Hohenzollern national meeting, the Menges militia guard, to the Ehingen militia guard. Then came the luring by the marching band, reminiscent of the drum signals, the fanfare calls and the command “helmet off” for prayer.
Afterwards, many spectators and city soldiers sang the national anthem together. After Commander Captain iTR Stocker had signed off on the Great Tattoo, all the militia corps marched past the front of honor to celebrate in the large marquee. The musicians from the Neuhausen Citizens’ Guard soon created a great atmosphere here, before the Dächingen Music Association played to entertain the guests.
At the commander’s reception at the mayor there were many words of praise for the Ehingen Historical Citizens’ Guard, after a field mass had already taken place in the morning with all uniformed officers in the stadium.
Ehingen’s chief mayor Alexander Baumann described this national meeting as nothing less than a “historic hour” for the city of Ehingen, but also the state of Baden-Württemberg – the first of its kind with both national associations in one place. Colonel iTR Jürgen Rosenäcker, commander of the Württemberg-Hohenzollern corps, spoke of a “unique meeting” and emphasized that the militia preserve “cultural and traditional values”. Colonel iTR Rosenäcker described the citizens in colorful jackets as an “unmissable splash of color” at many receptions and thanked Ehingen for the organization. His counterpart, Colonel iTR Hans-Joachim Böhm from the Baden-Südhessen militia, spoke of a “Herculean task in preparation” and insisted on calling his corps “big brother”. Although the association is smaller, it was founded 92 years ago and is therefore the older one.
Joachim Butz, the personal advisor to the deceased Carl Duke of Württemberg, spoke on behalf of the House of Württemberg and was able to posthumously award the Herzog Carl Medal of Merit to Commander Colonel iTR Jürgen Rosenäcker and Professor Urban Bacher for their services to the circle of friends of the militia.
The President of the UEHMG, Major General iTR Michael Blaha, MSc, from Vienna, who described himself as a living traditionalist and also claimed “appropriate speaking time” for his 1,300 kilometer journey to and from Ehingen, had one of the longest journeys to the Danube city. He described this unique national meeting of the two associations as “truly a highlight” and said: “Here we can transport the values of the past into the present and pass them on to the future.” Major General iTR Michael Blaha, MSc also used the opportunity to award Colonel iTR Hans Härtl the Great Golden Medal of Honor for his decades of voluntary work in the UEHMG.
During the subsequent parade through Ehingen’s city center, the „citizens in colorful jackets“ showed off their best side, always accompanied by the respective marching and city bands. The music clubs from Kirchbierlingen, Mundingen, Kirchen and Frankenhofen were also there and were able to contribute their part to the success of the parade. The end of the national meeting took place both in the city center and in the festival tent.
Fotos: Landesverband der Bürgerwehren und Milizen Baden-Südhessen