Image from National Archives
25 Years Ago Today:
BERLIN (AP) — Standing under iron-gray skies at the Berlin Wall dividing East and West, President Reagan on Friday challenged Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev — if he truly seeks peace, prosperity and liberalization — to “come here to this gate … tear down this wall.”
Reagan’s emotional declaration that “there is only one Berlin,” spoken in German, was greeted with roars of approval from more than 20,000 flag-waving spectators, and was carried by loudspeakers to several hundred East Berliners trying to listen from beyond the Brandenburg Gate, on the other side of the concrete and barbed wire barricade.
“This wall will fall,” Reagan declared in the speech, broadcast to Eastern Europe as well as Western Europe and North America. “For it cannot withstand faith. It cannot withstand truth. The wall cannot withstand freedom.”
The president and Nancy Reagan returned to the White House at 9:45 p.m. EDT, where the family dog, Rex, scampered out the door to greet them. Mrs. Reagan scooped the spaniel up in her arms and carried him inside.
Nearing the end of a 10-day, 10,135-mile journey that took him to Venice for the annual economic summit of seven major industrial democracies, the president challenged Gorbachev to extend his liberalizing domestic policy of “glasnost” to ending East-West divisions symbolized by the Berlin Wall.
Accompanied by West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, Reagan stood behind a bulletproof glass shield on a raised platform and gazed over the wall at the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag, the former German parliament building. The two leaders stood directly opposite an East German guard tower.
Asked by reporters if he thought Gorbachev would accept his challenge to tear down the wall, Reagan replied, “Well, Jericho didn’t last forever.”
The Gettysburg Times (Gettsyburg, Pennsylvania) Jun 13, 1987
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