JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO – LACKLAND, Texas --
In recent days, there have been a rash of reports to the 25th Air Force Facilities office about vandalism on a wall located near the entrance to Building 2000. Fortunately, the ‘tagging’ being reported is a case of mistaken identity, a bit of historical restoration, and not a case of tagging.
BJ Jones, 25th Air Force History office, recently spent several hours, in the dark of night, restoring a piece of history, in the form of graffiti, on the Berlin Wall exhibit in 25th Air Force’s Belvedere Park courtyard.
Exported from Germany, graffiti intact, after the fall of the Soviet Union, the wall fragment is now displayed at 25th Air Force Headquarters in honor of the many units who bravely operated from the divided city of Berlin during the Cold War.
Too large to display indoors, the concrete section was placed in a small courtyard outside Building 2000, which, unfortunately, exposes this small piece of history to the elements.
“The Texas sun is brutal and, through time and weather, the paint had disappeared completely,” Jones said. “We, in the History office, recently found a photo from the monument’s dedication ceremony and were given permission to recreate the “artwork,” returning the wall to its original state.”
To ensure the closest possible replica, Jones scanned the photo and projected the image onto the piece of wall. In order to see the projected image as clearly and accurately as possible, Jones had to accomplish the task during the hours of darkness.
“I wish I could have painted something a little more interesting, but I was stuck with some bizarre black shapes and an odd looking thing that looks like a grenade,” Jones said. “We have to do our best to create an exact replica, otherwise we have altered history.”
The wall is emblazoned with the word “Freiheit,” which is German for Freedom or Liberty, at the top and in a bold red. “Freedom” is painted at the bottom in a dull black.
Jones said he hopes the paint will remain on the monument for many years to remind everyone of the significance of the markings people made on the wall, and he invites all personnel to stop by the courtyard, on the right when entering Building 2000, to see the display and reflect on what it stands for.