Friday, June 29, 2007

The Berlin Wall

I was able to see a portion of the Berlin Wall on a recent trip to Dallas, Texas. The hotel I was staying at, the Hilton Anatole, has a large collection of artworks and artifacts. This section of the Berlin Wall was a part of their collection.

I took a few minutes and thought about the significance of the Berlin Wall in 20th Century history. It was literally the dividing line between the communist East, and the democracies of the West.

Ronald Regan Delivering his "Tear Down This Wall"
speech at the Brandeburg Gate in Berlin.

June 12, 2007 was the 20th anniversary of President Ronald Reagan's famous "Tear Down This Wall" speech.

The key passages was this:
"General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"
You can read the full text of the speech here.

But even better, through the magic of You Tube, you can watch an excerpt of this famous speech yourself:

Amazingly, that line was struck from the speech several times. The speech writer, Peter Robinson, had originally written the line. But whenever the speech was vetted with State Department, and National Security advisers, they kept striking this passage from the speech. They were afraid that this line was too provocative, and too bold.

Finally, President Reagan had to sit down with his advisers, and remind them that he was the president, and he would say whatever he wanted to say.

The Berlin Wall Being Torn Down

Well the rest, as they say, was history. Within 2 1/2 years, the wall really did come down. Within another year or so, the whole Soviet Empire collapsed, and freedom was restored to hundreds of millions of people who were formerly behind the Iron Curtain. And that Iron Curtain was most symbolized by the Berlin Wall.

All I can say is: I really miss The Gipper!


T. F. Stern said...

Important thoughts involved with wall building or tearing down. In this case the wall was meant to act as a prison to deny those within from experiencing freedoms.

The other side of the "wall" issue would be the need for one here to preserve freedoms and protect us from those who have little if any regard for the rule of law.

Isn't that an iteresting paradox?

Tigersue said...

thank you for the bit of history lesson there. It is a good time of the year to remind us of that.

Téa said...

I like the idea of speaking one's mind when freedoms are threatened/restricted. Whatever quibbles I may have with other aspects of Reagan's presidency, I give him props for being a man who told it like he saw it.

Tigersue said...

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