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Fall of Berlin Wall Anniversary - November 9

Fall of Berlin Wall Anniversary
Jesse Bluma at Pointe Viven. All rights reserved.

There is an art to living and leadership.  As we take time to be mindful of past events and honor the triumphs and tragedies of humanity, we become culturally literate, we become better citizens, and we understand our present world as an extension of the past.

Yet, there is also deep satisfaction through listening to the past.  The story of the Berlin Wall is one significant episode in history that gifts us with the opportunity to explore examples of leadership, determination, and turning points.  All of which humbles us and reminds us what it means to be human.  A satisfactory journey indeed, if we pay close attention, listen, and seek clarity.

"'Tear down this wall!' was the challenge issued by United States President Ronald Reagan to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to destroy the Berlin Wall, in a speech at the Brandenburg Gate near the Berlin Wall on June 12, 1987, commemorating the 750th anniversary of Berlin.  Reagan challenged Gorbachev, who was then the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, to tear it down as an emblem of Gorbachev's desire to increase freedom in the Eastern Bloc through glasnost ('transparency') and perestroika ('restructuring').  Built in 1961, the Berlin Wall became known as a symbol of communist oppression.  In the 1963 ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’ speech, U.S. President John F. Kennedy stated the support of the United States for West Germany shortly after the Soviet-supported Communist state of East Germany erected the Berlin Wall as a barrier to prevent movement from East to West.  Arriving in Berlin on June 12, 1987, President and Mrs. Reagan were taken to the Reichstag, where they viewed the wall from a balcony.  Reagan then made his speech at the Brandenburg Gate at 2:00 p.m., in front of two panes of bulletproof glass protecting him from potential snipers in East Berlin."

Additional Resources 

The Berlin Wall

Berlin Wall Memorial

Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library

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