On Monday, Novemer 9, 2009, one of the biggest milestones in German history, the 20th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, was celebrated at the Colony Square Mall in Atlanta and was hosted by the German Consulate General and the German Cultural center. It featured eyewitness accounts and a video of the Fall of the Berlin Wall. As part of the festivities the Cross of Merit was presented to Thomas J Harrold Jr by Dr. Lutz H. Görgens, the Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany.
The Cross of Merit, instituted in 1951, is the highest tribute the Federal Republic of Germany can pay individuals for services to the nation in the fields of political, economic, social, charitable and philanthropic work. Very few Americans have received this honor.
Dr. Lutz H. Görgens, Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany, presented Thomas J. Harrold Jr with the Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
Harrold’s service to Germany began in 1978, when he helped to found the German-American Chamber of Commerce of the Southern United States. Since then, over 600 German companies have located facilities in the Southeast, more than any other region of the United States. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the German American Chamber of Commerce and the Goethe-Zentrum/German Cultural Center.
In 2003, Harrold, now a Senior Member of Miller & Martin’s International Practice Group in Atlanta, organized the German Unification Conference. The conference celebrated the 13th anniversary of the unification of Germany and honored former Chancellor Helmut Kohl, former Soviet President Gorbachev and former U.S. President George H.W. Bush.
With over 400 people in attendance, Harrold was the organizer and Chairman of the 60th Anniversary of the Berlin Airlift Celebration saluting Georgia native General Lucius Clay in an event held at Dobbins Air Reserve Base on May 15, 2009.
In recognition of his efforts, Harrold was nominated for his commitment to service by German President Horst Köhler.
Tom Harrold with the Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany