Friday, June 12, 2009

Another Anniversary: 'Tear Down This Wall!'

It seems the date of June 12 is a propitious one for those who value human rights and human liberty. I have already noted the anniversary of the Virginia Declaration of Rights but, thanks to an email correspondent, I was reminded just a few minutes ago of another anniversary, more contemporaneous in time -- the event we remember occurred in the 20th century, not the 18th century.

Twenty-two years ago today, President Ronald Reagan, addressing an international audience at the Brandenburg Gate, historically the passageway between the eastern and western portions of Berlin but then blocked by brick, stone, concrete, and barbed wire (known as, of course, the Berlin Wall), said in the speech's most memorable passage:

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!
And thus began the unraveling of the Soviet Empire.

The key portion of President Reagan's speech can be seen on the video, below. It can be heard in full at the American Rhetoric web site.

H/T: Shaun Kenney.

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