Federal Minister Friedrich presents two Americans with Cross of the Order of Merit
Many remember 2 March 2011 as the date of the first Islamist terrorist attack carried out in Germany, in which two American troops were killed and two others seriously wounded at Frankfurt Airport. This day is firmly etched in the memories of Lamar Joseph Conner and Trevor Donald Brewer: Staff Sergeant Brewer, of the U.S. Air Force, survived only because the attacker’s gun jammed. Having narrowly escaped becoming the next victim, Brewer turned pursuer. Conner, another American, who was working at the airport, joined in the pursuit and warned passers-by of the danger.
Federal Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich presented Conner and Brewer with the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany on 16 January, citing their exemplary courage and action which helped the Federal Police arrest the suspect.
Federal Minister Friedrich thanked both guests of honour for their bravery and selflessness on behalf of the public, saying
"Your action, Mr Conner and Staff Sergeant Brewer, was not only exemplary. It was also politically significant. The attack on 2 March 2011 was the first Islamist terrorist attack carried out in Germany. We Germans have so far been spared the anguish experienced by the American people as the result of 9/11. The fact that courageous individuals were able to stop the first Islamist-motivated murderer in Germany before he could harm even more people sends an important signal. This attack was aimed at the common fight of Germany and the U.S. on behalf of peace and freedom. As interior minister of the Federal Republic of Germany, I would like to emphasize today in a very special way our excellent transatlantic cooperation in the fight against international terrorism. I speak for the Federal Chancellor and the entire Federal Government when I say that, from the very first, we were resolved to stand with our American friends even more firmly in the hour of this attack."
Following the awards ceremony, the host and guests took the opportunity to share their experience of the events of 2 March 2011.
The Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany was instituted in 1951 by Federal President Theodor Heuss. It is the only honour that may be awarded in all fields of endeavour and is the highest tribute the Federal Republic of Germany can pay to individuals for services to the nation. The Order of Merit may be awarded to Germans as well as foreigners for achievements in the political, economic, social or intellectual realm and for all kinds of outstanding services to the nation in the field of social, charitable or philanthropic work. No pecuniary reward is attached.