June 13, 2013
June 12,1987 - A great day for freedom
Our #1 son was a few weeks old and I was sitting in the living room getting ready to watch the late Peter Jennings and the evening news. (Pre-Fox Report with Charles Krauthammer days.)
"Reagan's challenge came during a visit to West Berlin. With the Berlin Wall as a backdrop, Reagan declared, "There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace." He then called upon his Soviet counterpart: "Secretary General 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." Addressing the West Berlin crowd, Reagan observed, "Standing before the Brandenburg Gate, every man is a German, separated from his fellow men. Every man is a Berliner, forced to look upon a scar.""
It was Reagan at his best. It was also the kind of "in your face" statement that the Soviets understood.
As a product of the Cold War, or a kid who grew up in a communist country and came to the US looking for freedom, I reacted with total joy. It was marvelous watching a US president calling communism what it really was - a corrupt, undemocratic and authoritarian regime that built walls to keep people from seeking freedom.
Reagan spoke to me that day. He obviously spoke to lots of people behind the Iron Curtain. His words had the same kind of reaction as "the evil empire" remark of a few years before. The words terrorized the "protocol obsessed types" in the State Department but put a smile on the face of those who were living under communism.
No one knew 26 years sgo yesterday that the wall would collapse two years later. Or that the USSR would become Russia at the end of 1991.
What we did know was that President Reagan had exposed the injustice of that wall and that the inhumane Soviet regime was destined to fail.