This Wall Will Fall. Beliefs Become Reality

 

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.”

260px-Berlin-Memorial_to_the_Victims_of_the_Wall-1982.jpgLooking 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.

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There are 12 comments.

  1. Member

    We’re lucky to be privy to this bit of history, told first hand. Thanks. Please keep them coming.

    • #1
    • June 13, 2012, at 1:05 AM PDT
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  2. Inactive

    That’s a great post, Peter, and its essential message is timeless.

    • #2
    • June 13, 2012, at 1:54 AM PDT
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  3. Thatcher

    We will always remember. We will always be proud. We will always be prepared, so we may always be free. –Ronald Reagan

    Pride is not a four letter word.

    • #3
    • June 13, 2012, at 2:06 AM PDT
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  4. Inactive

    I was very surprised to see that it had been written in English. I had just assumed someone had translated it for him/you.

    • #4
    • June 13, 2012, at 2:07 AM PDT
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  5. Inactive

    Great story, Peter. It reminds me also of how you found the idea for the “tear down this wall” line in an interview with German citizens. A great example of how a great leader captures the thoughts and dreams of the people and gives them voice. The difference between leading and “ruling”, or of speaking for the people rather than at the people. 

    • #5
    • June 13, 2012, at 2:53 AM PDT
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  6. Member

    Peter,

    on your list you mention the Reichstag, which was in East Berlin. Did you travel over to the east side of the wall (usually allowed for American tourists) during your visit?

    • #6
    • June 13, 2012, at 2:53 AM PDT
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  7. Member

    Inspiriational, Peter. Thanks.

    CJRun: I was very surprised to see that it had been written in English. I had just assumed someone had translated it for him/you.

    Well spotted! It seems to have been written for the President and/or American media. How fortunate the author must have felt upon Reagan’s notice!

    Angels whispering in our ears, “Look over there.”

    • #7
    • June 13, 2012, at 3:19 AM PDT
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  8. Founder
    Peter Robinson Post author
    CJRun: I was very surprised to see that it had been written in English. I had just assumed someone had translated it for him/you. · 2 hours ago

    Why did it appear in English? I have no idea–it was a mystery to me then, and it remains so now. But thank goodness that it was in English. If it had been in German, I’d have missed it.

    • #8
    • June 13, 2012, at 4:02 AM PDT
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  9. Founder
    Peter Robinson Post author
    Mendel: Peter,

    on your list you mention the Reichstag, which was in East Berlin. Did you travel over to the east side of the wall (usually allowed for American tourists) during your visit? · 1 hour ago

    Actually, Mendel, the Reichstag lay just on the western side of the wall–by a matter of no more than a couple of hundred yards.

    • #9
    • June 13, 2012, at 4:03 AM PDT
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  10. Member
    Peter Robinson
    Mendel: Peter,

    on your list you mention the Reichstag, which was in East Berlin. Did you travel over to the east side of the wall (usually allowed for American tourists) during your visit? · 1 hour ago

    Actually, Mendel, the Reichstag lay just on the western side of the wall–by a matter of no more than a couple of hundred yards. 

    Oops, of course it was – I had been mistakenly thinking that, since the building wasn’t renovated until the 1990’s, it must have been behind the wall. Pretty embarrassing for someone who’s been inside the building several times and is married to an East German (pray for my sake she doesn’t read my comment).

    Can we have that “delete my stupid comment” function turned on now?

    • #10
    • June 13, 2012, at 4:11 AM PDT
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  11. Member

    I just listened to President Reagan’s Brandenburg speech on NRO. What comes through so strongly is, along with Mr. Reagan’s fealty to human freedom, his great love for all – victors and vanquished, captive and free.

    What a wonderful human being.

    • #11
    • June 13, 2012, at 6:12 AM PDT
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  12. Inactive

    We use the term shameless self-promotion when we really ought to be ashamed but I’m glad you didn’t use it because for this you just ought to be proud.

    • #12
    • June 13, 2012, at 12:57 PM PDT
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