On Thursday evening, the Ambassador of the United States (US) to Luxembourg, Tom Barrett, hosted the mayors of Luxembourg's municipalities at his residence, thus reviving this old tradition after a six-year break.
The tradition of inviting the mayors of all of Luxembourg's municipalities to the US residence dates to the 1950s, but this year's reception was the first since 2016. A total of 37 mayors were in attendance on Thursday 1 December 2022 and each of their municipalities was symbolised by a decoration on the large Christmas tree in the residence's hallway – one of two trees gifted by the municipality of Parc Hosingen this year.
Indeed, the US Embassy Luxembourg and the municipality of Parc Hosingen revived this specific tradition last year: the gifting of an evergreen tree is a symbol of the municipality's appreciation for the sacrifices made by US soldiers to liberate the area during the Battle of the Bulge.
Regarding the mayors' reception, Ambassador Barrett recalled that it was Perle Mesta, an American socialite and US Ambassador to Luxembourg from 1949 to 1953, who started this important tradition following the end of the Second World War. Whilst the tradition had been dormant in recent years mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the US Ambassador and the US Embassy were happy to be able to revive it this year.
"As a former mayor, I appreciate the significant role all mayors play in addressing some of the greatest challenges of our time, not only on a local but also on a national and international level", stated Ambassador Barrett. "With Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine, global problems like food and energy security have been exacerbated and tackling these issues requires us to work together on every level of governance. Reviving the annual tradition of hosting the mayors of Luxembourg was an important step towards that collective goal".
Reflecting on the close ties that bind Luxembourg and the US, Ambassador Barrett praised the two countries' "friendship, shared values and openness" and expressed his appreciation for the many tributes organised by Luxembourg's municipalities to honour the US troops who liberated the Grand Duchy from Nazi oppression in 1944.
The Mayor of Clervaux, Emile Eicher, for his part, thanked the US Ambassador for this "wonderful opportunity" to meet with his fellow mayors and the ambassador, who he felt could relate to the experiences of Luxembourg's mayors since he himself was a mayor (of Milwaukee, Wisconsin) for almost 20 years. Mayor Eicher recalled that his parents and many others had experienced the atrocities and destruction of the Battle of the Bulge and lamented that we are witnessing similar scenes on the European continent 70 years later. He was thankful, however, for the Grand Duchy's friendship with countries such as the US – as demonstrated by just how many US flags are flown across the Grand Duchy in honour of American soldiers who fought to liberate the country during the Second World War.
Following the speeches, the reception continued with festive finger food and drinks, lively conversations and a well-received piano performance by one of the mayors.