Ronald Reagan’s “Tear Down This Wall” Speech June 12, 1987 | West Berlin, Germany
“Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking his blessing and his help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.”
President Ronald Reagan gave this speech in 1987 near the Berlin Wall in Germany, where he urged Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall. Built by Communists in 1961 to keep Germans from escaping Communist-dominated East Berlin into Democratic West Berlin, the 12-foot concrete wall extended for 100 miles and included electrified fences and guard posts. The wall stood as a stark symbol of the decades-old Cold War between the U.S. and Soviet Russia. The Cold War wouldn’t end for several more years, but Reagan’s standing in front of the Berlin Wall and challenging Mikhail Gorbachev to tear it down is one of the most powerful moments in American history.
Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” Speech Aug. 28, 1963 | Washington, D.C.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The march was the largest demonstration ever seen in the nation’s capital and received extensive TV coverage. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech was a powerful statement of his desire for better relations among individuals of all races. It is hailed by many as the defining moment of the civil rights movement.
Note: Visit goo.gl/cah3Do to read the full text of Reagan’s speech.
Note: Visit goo.gl/DbDeUY to read the full text of MLK’s speech.
Excerpts from Reagan’s “Tear Down This Wall” Speech
“... 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 fellowmen. Every man is a Berliner, forced to look upon a scar ... As long as this gate is closed, as long as this scar of a wall is permitted to stand, it is not the German question alone that remains open, but the question of freedom for all mankind ... “... 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!”
FREEDOM FACT Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Baptist minister who became the leader of the civil rights movement. From 1957 until his death in 1968, King gave more than 2,500 speeches. In 1964, he received the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality.
Excerpts fromMLK’s “I Have a Dream” Speech
“... I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: all men are created equal.’ “... I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood … I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. “…When we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: ‘Free at last! Free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!’”
AT THE RONALD REAGAN BUILDING in Washington, D.C., a segment of the Berlin Wall is on display. A nearby plaque discusses Reagan’s 1987 “Tear down this wall!” speech.
AMER I CA’ S LEGACY PRESENTED BY STUDENT GOVERNMENTAL AFFA I RS PROGRAM | 49
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