When we were in Germany, the place I had my pinch me moment was the Brandenberg Gate. In no small part that was because of the speech Ronald Reagan made in 1987 at that spot. I went to college while the wall was collapsing. I thought I would get a Ph.D. in international relations with an emphasis on the former Soviet Union. My essay the year I was awarded the Truman Scholarship dealt with how we should respond to the countries attempting to leave the Soviet block.
The world has changed…dramatically since those days at the end of the 80s and early 90s. The lady we stayed with in Berlin told us stories of growing up literally surrounded by the Berlin Wall. Of a mother who escaped East Germany in dramatic fashion in the very early 1960s. Of being one of the first people pushed up on to the Berlin Wall the night it fell, and wondering if she would be shot by the East German military.
We live such a protected life. We take so much freedom for granted. We have liberty and don’t know what to do with it. My parents transmitted to me the importance of being involved of caring. I want to do the same. Because as one of the Reagan quotes in this video states,
Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.