Wednesday, June 26, 2013

QotD: "Ich bin ein Berliner" | "I am a Berliner" by John Fr. Kennedy

2012.06.05-IMG_2872Today is the 50th anniversary of JFK's famous speech at the (now gone) Berlin Wall where he memorably stated, "Ich bin ein Berliner".

As a Freshman in collage, I had a witty friend who noted that a "Berliner" was also a sort of German pastry, so one could also say that JFK proclaimed that "I am a doughnut".

But of course he didn't ... the fuller quote is:
Two thousand years ago, the proudest boast was civis romanus sum ["I am a Roman citizen"]. Today, in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is "Ich bin ein Berliner!"... All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin, and therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words "Ich bin ein Berliner!"
In 1987 (June 12), Ronald Reagan famously proclaimed in Berlin: "Tear down this wall!":
We welcome change and openness; for we believe that freedom and security go together, that the advance of human liberty can only strengthen the cause of world peace. There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace. 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, Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!
2012.06.04-IMG_2719A visit to Berlin today (for instance my own in June 2012) is incomplete without seeing remnants of the Wall in various parts of the city. There are also bits of the Wall available for sale (one is assuming, of course, they're authentic!) in various touristic versions (in baggies, in snow globes, on magnets, etc.).

The Wall, as a symbol, still resonates with those of us of a certain generation, but I wonder how long that will last and when will The Wall be even more so, just another touristic attraction?

No comments: