WASHINGTON, DC – As the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall nears, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has sent a letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany conveying the House’s respect and appreciation for the sacrifices made by Germans seeking a better life. “Here in the United States,” Boehner writes, “we are aware of the debt we owe to ordinary German citizens who longed for freedom and risked everything they had for it.” Read the full letter here or below.
Dear Chancellor Merkel,
As the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall nears, I have been reflecting on how captivating those events were and what they all meant.
That night demonstrated for our children what the human spirit can achieve. It showed them that the desire for liberty never dies. This is the great thread that links all of us, no matter where we’re from, no matter how dire our situation. Even here in the United States, we are aware of the debt we owe to ordinary German citizens who longed for freedom and risked everything they had for it. You could retrace their steps to the peaceful protests in Leipzig, where you studied, or go all the way back to the uprisings of 1953, and strikes that included Templin, your hometown.
Not long after that, President Dwight D. Eisenhower wrote a letter to the German chancellor, the last paragraph of which reads: “No one can foretell what the unfolding months will bring, but it can certainly be said that the workers of Berlin’s Soviet Sector and the workers of East Germany, with the workers of Czechoslovakia, have started something that will have an important place on the pages of history. May the concluding chapter of that history record the reemergence of freedom, of peace, and of happiness.”
What a story it turned out to be, and on this proud occasion for your country, allow me to express the gratitude and appreciation of the U.S. House of Representatives for the enduring friendship between our peoples.
John A. Boehner
Throughout the year, Speaker Boehner has been marking the events that led up to the fall of the Berlin Wall:
June 4: 25 Years of Freedom in Poland
“If 1989 was the year the world shook, the Polish elections of June 4th were the initial tremor.”
August 19: 25th Anniversary of the Pan-European Picnic
“Another dent in the Iron Curtain was made when roughly 600 East Germans fled to the West. ‘We didn’t feel like we were making history,’ one of the organizers said, but that they were.”
September 10: 25th Anniversary of the Opening of Hungary’s Border
“Thousands of East Germans who had been allowed into Hungary as tourists simply refused to go back. Their courage led to a fear among government officials that Hungary would become ‘a nation of refugee camps.’”
October 9: 25th Anniversary of the Peaceful Revolution
“The potential for a crackdown was very real. In many homes, one parent stayed behind in case the worst came to pass. But when the day came, and the crowd swelled to at least 70,000, the police stepped aside.”
· November 4: 25th Anniversary of the Alexanderplatz Demonstration
“There was no violence, only demands for the basic rights we are exercising today. ‘We’re taking the liberty to which we’re entitled,’ one protester declared.”
The House’s commemoration of the Revolutions of 1989 will continue on Wednesday, November 19, when Speaker Boehner will dedicate a bust of Vaclav Havel, the first president of a free Czech Republic.