A Follow-up to the Nov 9th Berlin Wall Post
Ronald Reagan Statue Unveiled in Berlin Near Site of Cold War Speech
I didn’t want this “side-story” about the Reagan statue being unveiled in Berlin last year to cloud the issue of Germany’s Reunification that I posted on November 9th, so I decided to make it a short follow-up post.
A bronze statue of former US President Ronald Reagan was presented in Berlin in November 2019, on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The statue sits on the embassy's terrace, overlooking the landmark Brandenburg Gate and the site where Reagan gave his famous 1987 speech urging Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to support peace and "tear down this wall."
A Lukewarm Response in Berlin Berlin officials have rejected accusations that Reagan has been given short shrift in memorials in the city — pointing out that a plaque already marks the site where he held his speech and that he was named an honorary citizen in 1992.
Berliners had mixed reactions to the new statue. One older woman told reporters that she did not mind a statue of Reagan as the US had been a "protecting power" over West Germany, but that sentiment did not necessarily resonate throughout Germany.
"In very recent years, the relations between the United States and Germany have been tense; not the warm and fuzzy bond of years past.”
It's no secret that in very recent years, the relations between the United States and Germany have been tense; not the warm and fuzzy bond of years past.
The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation had been trying for 10 years to get a statue of the president erected in the German capital as a visible marker to the speech that many credit with at least symbolically creating the first cracks in the Berlin Wall, which East German demonstrators finally pressured their government to open on the night of Nov. 9, 1989.
In 2012, the city allowed a plaque embedded in the sidewalk on the exact location where Mr. Reagan stood when giving the speech, with the East German capital, stretching out behind it. The foundation had largely given up the fight for a statue when Richard Grenell, the Ambassador to Germany, contacted them to say he had named the terrace on the embassy roof overlooking the Brandenburg Gate after Mr. Reagan — and suggested it would make a perfect place for the statue.
“If you examine the sculpture closely, you’ll discover that I placed an original piece of The Wall inside the hollow bronze stack of speech cards,” said Chas Fagan, the artist commissioned by the foundation to create the 800-pound bronze statue. “The story of the Berlin Wall is embedded in the sculpture.”
The significance of that 1987 speech has been fiercely debated since that June afternoon, with some dismissing it as an act of showmanship, while others consider it the first direct challenge to the Soviet leadership to take action.
“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!” he said. “Mr. Gorbachev open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”
Appealing directly to East Germans, Mr. Reagan also said, “Es gibt nur ein Berlin,” or “There is only one Berlin” — a remark that would prove equally prescient.
Source: NyTimes.com When we are able to travel again, and we finally get to Berlin, I hope the statue is easily visible from outside the Embassy. As mentioned in my November 9th post (and this is not about his political affiliation), I was a always a fan, even before he became President! I admired his love affair with his wife, his earned reputation as "The Great Communicator", and how humble he was in spite of his fame.