President Bush visited the city of Mainz, Germany today - a city that had been transformed into a ghost town except for the the presence of 12,000+ protesters:
A force of 10,000 police officers staged one of the biggest postwar security operations. Frogmen searched the Rhine for explosives, 1,300 manhole covers were welded shut and thousands of residents were displaced.
For Bush's eight-hour stay there was also a strict ban on air traffic within a 60-km (40-mile) radius of Mainz, barges on the river were halted and motorways in the region closed. Factories, businesses and schools were shut.
It is important to remember that there was a time when the United States was an inspiration for Europe, and the visit of the President of the United States was a cause for celebration.
Die Reise des 46-jährigen Kennedys im Juni 1963 nach West- Deutschland ist unvergessen. Die Begeisterung war überall groß, der Besuch in Berlin wurde ein einziger Triumph. Hunderttausende jubelten dem Präsidenten zu. Für die Menschen sei Kennedy ein «Symbol des Aufbruchs» gewesen, meint der Historiker Andreas Daum.