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Tear Down This Wall: Twenty-Five Years Ago Today

Turning 21 in just under a week, my first daughter was born more than 20 months after the fall of the Berlin Wall and just six months before the Soviet Union became, officially, extinct–even she, the oldest of my children, has no memory of the Cold War. Speaking-copy.jpgI don’t know how to explain to her or her brothers and sister what it felt like to listen to Ronald Reagan on June 12, 1987. I do know that it’s important to try.

Here, the President’s speaking copy. As with all his speeches, he marked up the text with a black felt pen, dividing the speech into phrases.

  1. Stephen Dawson

    So for asking a trivial question about such a momentous speech, but I’ve always wanted to know: why are speeches and other words for high government officials written in upper case? It was the same here in Australia. Back in the early 90s I prepared to ‘possible answers to questions without notice’ for an Australian government minister, and the rules were the same. Upper case. Even though reading normal upper and lower case is so much easier.

  2. Scotty Dickey

    It’s always encouraging to be reminded of past instances where just the right person was providentially provided with just the right words at just the right time.  One can’t help but feel that we’re approaching such a time. I’m praying that Mr. Romney will be surrounded by cheerful warriors who will serve him as Peter Robinson served Reagan, helping him craft the messages he’ll need to confront America’s enemies, inspire confidence in the marketplace, offer real hope to the discouraged, and continue the project of reeducating a nation that has, to a large extent, forgotten the story of freedom.

  3. Patrickb63

    Thanks Peter, for some of the most stirring words Pres. Reagan ever spoke.  I was 24 then, and remember well the scorn so many heaped upon him.  But I had been a supporter since the summer of 1980, when I had the chance to attend an election appearance.  Then Gov. Reagan was addressing an assembled crowd on the Bellevedere in Louisvelle, KY.  A very vocal anti-Reagan group kept trying to shout him down.  Gov. Reagan stopped speaking and stood there for a few minutes until the rabble quieted.  He then leaned forward and said (inexact quote here)- “Isn’t it amazing how an open mouth is always the sign of a closed mind”.    That didn’t stop the protestors right away, but they weren’t as loud after that.   I was 17 that year and couldn’t vote.  But he had my support thereafter.  Some leftist tactics haven’t changed in 30+ years have they?   

  4. GingerB

    Just reading it gives me goosebumps!  

  5. Kozak

    Mr Robinson,

    God Bless you for writing those words and President Reagan for having the wisdom and courage to speak them.   I get goosebumps and teary eyed every time I see it.  I remember the rage I felt the first time I saw the Wall that so much effort had been expended in creating that abomination to the rights of man.  Growing up in a Ukrainian household, hearing the stories of the Soviet atrocities from my parents, never believing that in a few short years the horror would just melt away with a wimper.  Thanks to the leadership of President Reagan.

    How sad that we have gone from a giant to a pygmy at president in single generation.

  6. Gretchen

    Happy Anniversary, Peter! He who laughs last laughs best.

    And GingerB,

    GingerB: Just reading it gives me goosebumps!   · 1 hour ago

    Me too.

  7. Mel Foil

    It also took a man of integrity and heartfelt passion to “get away” with saying that. The freedom-lovers could say “right on!!” and the Soviets could save some face saying, “oh that Reagan…he loves to ride that old hobby horse,” while they were clearing the lump in their throats.

  8. Furius Camillus

    When the wall fell the ramifications were on the edge of my pubescent understanding.

    We had seen “Red Dawn” and made-for-TV movies about nuclear armageddon.  The Soviet Union was monumental, our lives hanging by a thread with superpowers ready to crush each other and the world many times over.  We talked about Mutually Assured Destruction and awfullized about the effects of nuclear winter.  We read Z is for Zachariah in school.

    Then one day it all ended as did those concerns shared by children and parents thanks to a great man and his people.

    Thank you for including the speaking copy.  Powerful words and powerful pauses from a monumental leader.

  9. Duane Oyen

    I feel like I am at the bar of history just sort-of knowing Peter!  A lifetime memorable event.

  10. Dave Carter
    C

    A year before that speech, I had been in Germany as part of a security forces deployment in the aftermath of our raid on Libya.  While there, I met a gentleman from Australia, along with his wife who had escaped from East Germany.   She spoke no English, but her husband translated her story to me.  She spoke of family members that remained in East Germany, and how difficult it was to communicate with them.  It was a rather emotional conversation.   I watched President Reagan deliver that speech and I thought of that lady,…and how it must have done her heart good to know that the American President was on her side.  I got chills when President Reagan spoke the unvarnished truth that day.  I still do when I think about it.   Millions are in his debt, and in your’s as well, Peter.   Thank you!!  And I’m proud to call you friend.  

  11. Neolibertarian

    Perfect. Thank you Peter.

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