As I say, I promise to do this sort of thing only once every quarter century, but here’s one more page from the journal I kept when I visited Berlin in April 1987 to research the address President Reagan delivered 25 years ago today. In note 4, I recorded graffiti that had been spray-painted onto the Berlin Wall. This made it into the address verbatim–and the President was shown the same graffiti minutes before he spoke. (To see the page on Scribd, click here.)
“As I looked out a moment ago from the Reichstag, that embodiment of German unity,” President Reagan said, “I noticed words crudely spray-painted upon the wall, perhaps by a young Berliner, ‘This wall will fall. Beliefs become reality.’ Yes, across Europe, this wall will fall. For it cannot withstand faith; it cannot withstand truth. The wall cannot withstand freedom.”
Looking around on the Internet just now, I found this photograph, a record of a brutal structure, now long gone, that then seemed as though it might stand forever. Note the crosses in the foreground. Each was erected in memory of an East German who was killed trying to escape.