25 years ago on June 12, 1987 Reagan made his famous speech in Berlin

The Heritage Foundation ran a fine article on Ronald Reagan today.

June 12 marks the 25th anniversary of President Reagan’s historic speech at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate. Over the objections of advisors who thought the lines were too provocative, President Reagan made a dramatic demand:

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!

In his speech, Reagan talked about the need to tear down more than just this physical barrier to freedom:

In West Germany and here in Berlin, there took place an economic miracle, the Wirtschaftswunder. Adenauer, Erhard, Reuter, and other leaders understood the practical importance of liberty—that just as truth can flourish only when the journalist is given freedom of speech, so prosperity can come about only when the farmer and businessman enjoy economic freedom. The German leaders reduced tariffs, expanded free trade, lowered taxes. From 1950 to 1960 alone, the standard of living in West Germany and Berlin doubled.

For over a decade, The Heritage Foundation, in partnership with The Wall Street Journal, has tracked the march of economic freedom around the world with the influential Index of Economic Freedom. The data vindicate President Reagan’s 1987 declaration: “After these four decades, then, there stands before the entire world one great and inescapable conclusion: Freedom leads to prosperity. Freedom replaces the ancient hatreds among the nations with comity and peace. Freedom is the victor.”

_____________

My sons Wilson and Hunter got to see  all the sites of California and Sherwood Haisty Jr. took them to Reagan’s presidential library in March of 2011 after Sherwood finished his seminary work in the morning at the Masters Seminary. Wilson told me that Sherwood actually bought him a McArthur Study Bible that he wanted.  

Below you will see a part of the Berlin wall and my two sons standing in front of it.

“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.”  

Arguably one of Reagan’s best television moments, he urged Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to stop the communist hold over East Berlin and allow the country to unify under a democracy. Two years later, it happened in the dark of night.

I remember walking in Austria in 1981 with an elderly man who did not know English but when I told him I was from the USA, he responded, “Jimmy Carter is no good, but Reagan is strong and will stand up to Russia.” He did not say those words in English but another student that was with me was able to interpret at least those words.

Also on the same trip, I got to visit 4  Communist countries and while in Hungry, I heard one of the saddest stories I had ever heard. Our tour guide (who knew 6 languages) spoke to a gentleman who met all of us. This poor man said (in German) that he was married in 1944 to a lady from Hungary who wanted to live by her relatives. He left his homeland of Austria and moved to Hungary. He said that he regretted moving to what would later become a communist country. His relatives in Austria had done really well but he was stuck in a communist country that basically caused everyone to live in poverty.
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25 years ago on June 12, 1987 Reagan made his famous speech in Berlin

The Heritage Foundation ran a fine article on Ronald Reagan today. June 12 marks the 25th anniversary of President Reagan’s historic speech at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate. Over the objections of advisors who thought the lines were too provocative, President Reagan made a dramatic demand: There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be […]

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