Sunday, June 26, 2005

Freedom Comes Hard

On this day, June 26th, in 1963, President John F. Kennedy made a morale-boosting speech in the divided nation of West Germany in which he said "Ich bin ein Berliner".

President Kennedy had just returned on foot from a visit to the Berlin Wall's most dangerous crossing point, Checkpoint Charlie. While there, he was viewed curiously from the other side of the infamous wall border by groups of East Berliners unable to respond to the American president because of the East German People's Police.
"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.'" ~~President John F Kennedy, 1963
Those words were meant to inspire defiance to the Soviet Union, which they did. However, the quest for freedom is rarely easy, as Kennedy surely understood. The people of East Berlin continued to live under communist rule for another twenty-six years. In 1989, the Berlin Wall finally fell, thanks to the farsighted American President of 1963, great leaders of freedom in the 1990s such as Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Pope John Paul II, and another generation of cold warriors, amongst whom I count myself. Yes, freedom was won, but it was hard fought.

President George W. Bush has recommitted our nation to freedom's spread. His words will hopefully be echoed by other generations of freedom seekers in other enslaved lands:
"The story of America is the story of expanding liberty: an ever-widening circle, constantly growing to reach further and include more. Our nation's founding commitment is still our deepest commitment: In our world, and here at home, we will extend the frontiers of freedom." ~~George W. Bush
Trackedback at Wizbang and Homespun Bloggers.

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