Berlin Gets a Ronald Reagan Statue It Didn’t Want

The statue will be formally inaugurated on Friday

Ronald Reagan's inauguration in 1981. (CQ Roll Call via Getty Images)
Ronald Reagan's inauguration in 1981. (CQ Roll Call via Getty Images)
By Bonnie Stiernberg / November 7, 2019 7:34 am

His 1987 speech in Berlin — in which he famously demanded “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall” — is one of the most memorable moments of his presidency, but the German city has resisted the requests of American diplomats to erect a statue of Ronald Reagan for years. Now, as the Wall Street Journal points out, the Trump administration has taken matters into its own hands and put up a seven-foot statue of the former president on the U.S. Embassy’s terrace.

The statue will be formally inaugurated on Friday (Nov. 8) by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, one day before the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Reagan is already an honorary citizen of the city, but Germany’s left has resisted erecting the statue of him due to his more conservative policies.

“There have been many U.S. presidents who could be honored,” Sabine Bangert, a member of the liberal Green Party and chairwoman of the committee of the Berlin state parliament in charge of monuments, told the Wall Street Journal. “At least until now.”

Despite that, those who were close to Reagan say it’s important to honor him in the city. “We all knew that the president felt very, very strongly about Berlin,” his speechwriter Clark S. Judge told the publication. “He felt Berlin stood for freedom, surrounded by a totalitarian regime, and he saw it as his job to stand by the people of Berlin.”

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