Daily readings about people, places, and events in American history.
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June 12th
“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall! ”
On June 12, 1987, President Ronald Reagan stood before the Berlin Wall, symbol of a totalitarian empire that robbed millions of basic human dignity and freedom, and delivered one of the great speeches of the twentieth century. More than a quarter century earlier, Soviet-backed East Germany had built the wall to keep its people from escaping Communist rule. Reagan, who knew his words would be heard on the east side of the wall, spoke directly to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

Behind me stands a wall that encircles the free sectors of this city, part of a vast system of barriers that divides the entire continent of Europe. . . . Standing before the Brandenburg Gate, every man is a German, separated from his fellow men. Every man is a Berliner, forced to look upon a scar. . . .

[I]n the West today, we see a free world that has achieved a level of prosperity and well-being unprecedented in all human history. In the Communist world, we see failure, technological backwardness, declining standards of health. . . . [T]here 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. . . .

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, tear down this wall!
Less than three years later, the Berlin Wall came down. The Soviet Union and its puppet states crumbled as the Cold War came to an end. The United States, by standing firm for democracy and human rights, helped free millions from tyranny.

American History Parade
1665
English colonists establish a municipal government in the old Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam, which they rename New York.

1776
The colony of Virginia adopts a bill of rights asserting that “all men are by nature equally free and independent.”

1939
The Baseball Hall of Fame is dedicated in Cooperstown, New York.

1971
President Nixon’s daughter Tricia and Edward Cox are married in the White House Rose Garden.

1987
In West Berlin, Ronald Reagan challenges Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall!”
This content is courtesy of The American Patriot's Almanac
© 2008, 2010 by William J. Bennett and John T.E. Cribb
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