Originally published : November 11, 1989
They are dancing on the Berlin wall.
Germans can no embrace long-lost family members, long-lost friends, and, for the East Germans, long-lost freedoms. They are dancing on the Berlin Wall.
They are chipping away at it with small hammers, with picks and axes. They are chipping away at it with almost 30 years of pent-up frustration and pent-up hope.
They are smiling, and singing, and hugging, and crying, and yes, drinking heavily. They are dancing on the Berlin Wall.
In front of the cameras beaming picutres around the world, in front of the guards, in front of the guns and in front of the stunned world, they are dancing.
“The Wall” was for so many years a symbol of a world divided, forso many years a reminder of the horror of World War II and how we traded one enemy for another enemy — one horror for the greater horror of atomic death.
“The Wall” was for so many years a concrete tomb for the minds and souls of millions of East Germans, millions of Eastern Europeans.
But today they are dancing on the Berlin Wall.
President Kennedy was right: as long as The Wall stood, we were all Berliners.
President Ronal Reagan was right: if people wanted to understand the difference between the East and the West, they need only visit Berlin and look at The Wall.
He pointedly asked the Soviets to tear down The Wall.
Yes. Now is the time: Tear down The Wall.
Tear down all the walls.
Tear down the Great Dogmatic Wall of China. Tear down the immoral wall of apartheid in South Africa. Tear down the barrier walls in Labanon. Tear down the rotting walls of the South Bronx. Tear down the walls of the Protestant churches an Catholic churches in Belfast, Ireland, and let us all celebrate under the open sky. Tear down the walls of the missile silos and the munition factories.
Tear down all the walls, brother and sisters.
As we have watched the Berliners celebrate, let them watch us observe Veterans Day. The cost of freedom is buried in the ground of France, England, Germany, and Italy. It is buried in the ground of Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and every nation where anyone stood for and died for freedom.
The cost of freedom is not cheap, for life is the most precious thing on Earth.
And to live, the spirit must be able to expand, to breath without restrain, to fly, to sing, to dance. So dance, comrades, dance.
And then tear down The Wall. Tear down all the walls.