Celebrating the triumph of liberty over tyranny: The Fall of the Berlin Wall
Washington, Nov 9, 2009 - It was 20 years ago, in November 1989, that the Berlin Wall, a tangible reminder of Communist tyranny, came crashing down. Thanks to a peaceful revolution, the Cold War ended, the border between East and West fell and Germany was reunited. The crumbling of the Soviet Empire and the subsequent freedom of millions of people across Europe was in no small part due to the work of my old boss, President Ronald Reagan, who bravely challenged Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.” It is important to recognize that this triumph was also thanks to the work of ordinary, freedom loving people, doing their duty, rejecting the tyrannical impulses of government leaders and working to ensure the survival of freedom and democracy.
Therefore, it is fitting that this month marks not only the end of the division of Berlin between free and Communist, but also that a question of major policy is being debated within the United States, which is a symbol itself of Western democracy and liberty. It’s easy to forget, regardless of what side of the healthcare reform debate one might be on, that we live in the freest and most prosperous country in the world, and that we are deciding questions of great governmental import, not through violence or fraud, but via a great republican system of government, where citizens can peacefully debate the great issue of the day and petition their representatives in Congress.
As we commemorate the lives of the tens of millions of victims of Communism, celebrate the end of the “evil empire” of the Soviet Union 20 years ago and continue our friendship with Russia today, let us not shirk our responsibility to carry on the legacy of moral clarity and commitment to democracy passed down to us from Ronald Reagan and inherited from the American founding fathers. Let us continue to engage in our civic responsibilities, to follow the political debates confronting us and to always be thankful that we are free.