In a West Berlin speech on June 26, 1963, Kennedy uttered his legendary phrase, “Ich bin ein Berliner” – “I am a Berliner” to a crowd of over one hundred thousand. His words were a reference to “all free men, wherever they may live” and underscored support for West Berliners, living in a democratic citadel surrounded by the Soviet’s Berlin Wall – a barrier that divided them from the communism of Soviet-occupied East Germany, and the rest of the world.
Excerpt from the speech:
Freedom is indivisible, and when one man is enslaved, all are not free. When all are free, then we can look forward to that day when this city will be joined as one and this country and this great Continent of Europe in a peaceful and hopeful globe. When that day finally comes, as it will, the people of West Berlin can take sober satisfaction in the fact that they were in the front lines for almost two decades.
All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin, and, therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words “Ich bin ein Berliner.”
Tragically, JFK was assassinated five months later as he rode through Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas.
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