Tempelhofer Feld in Berlin. Election Day.
The line was going out the door. Finally, it’s my turn! Time to vote for the Templehofer Feld. But what on earth am I doing? I had the opportunity to vote, that’s all I knew. Oh, and that I was supposed to vote to keep the Templelhofer Feld, of course! But how? The ballot was in my hand.
The polling station is full. Cold, grey tiles line the walls to what looks like some former army barracks.
“Luckily I arrived on time,” I said out loud.
“If only I hadn’t missed those German classes at DAS Akademie,” I mumbled.
In the last moment, I knew what to do. I would call a friend. Luise is a good friend of mine and is a local Berliner.
“Luise!” I nearly shouted. “Quick, I’m voting!” The connection was bad and I felt, a little guilty for making a call while in the private polling booth. “Which box should I check to save the Tempelhofer Feld?” I exclaimed.
In 2011 the civil action group ‘100% Tempelhofer Feld’ started it’s campaign to keep the Tempelhofer Feld as a free recreation area, rather than allow big business to take over the former airport. This campaign led to a city wide vote in 2014.
Three years later I was back in Berlin, on my way to meet my friend Luise for a picnic at the Temperhofer Feld.
“I can’t believe it’s still here!” I said. The excitement was building. I had been out of the country for a year but the thought of visiting my friend Luise at the Templehofer Feld brought me much joy.
I thought about the eras that the airfield has seen. From it’s founding as an airfield in the early 20th century to it’s destruction and reuse during the Second World War. Images of children scrambling to collect chocolate during the Berlin Airlift in 1948 still brings tears to my eyes. “Your grandfather was there,” My aunt told me. “He watched the American candy bomber, Gail Seymour, drop chocolate down to hundreds of children who had survived the war in Berlin”.
Today the Tempelhofer Feld serves the citizens of Berlin as a recreational park. In it’s massive hangers, the former air field also houses hundreds of refugees. Saving the Tempelhofer Feld was the best decision of my life.