Daily readings about people, places, and events in American history.
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June 26th
“I am a Berliner”
On June 26, 1963, John F. Kennedy became the first president to stand on the west side of the Berlin Wall and denounce totalitarianism. Kennedy called the wall “the most obvious and vivid demonstration of the failures of the Communist system, for all the world to see.” With the words Ich bin ein Berliner (“I am a Berliner”), he assured Europeans of U.S. resolve to stand up for freedom.

There are many people in the world who really don’t understand, or say they don’t, what is the great issue between the free world and the Communist world. Let them come to Berlin. There are some who say that Communism is the wave of the future. Let them come to Berlin. . . .Freedom has many difficulties and democracy is not perfect, but we have never had to put a wall up to keep our people in, to prevent them from leaving us. . . . [The Berlin Wall is] an offense not only against history but an offense against humanity, separating families, dividing husbands and wives and brothers and sisters, and dividing a people who wish to be joined together. . . .

Freedom is indivisible, and when one man is enslaved, all are not free. When all are free, then we can look forward to that day when this city will be joined as one and this country and this great Continent of Europe in a peaceful and hopeful globe. When that day finally comes, as it will, the people of West Berlin can take sober satisfaction in the fact that they were in the front lines for almost two decades.

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.”
American History Parade
1844
John Tyler becomes the first U.S. president to get married while in office.

1948
The Berlin Airlift begins delivering supplies to isolated West Berlin.

1959
Queen Elizabeth and President Eisenhower officially open the St. Lawrence Seaway.

1963
At the Berlin Wall, President Kennedy declares “Ich bin ein Berliner.”

2000
President Bill Clinton and British prime minister Tony Blair announce that scientists have completed the first rough map of the human genetic code.
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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