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Ich bin ein Berliner
American Rhetoric ^ | June 26, 1963 | JFK

Posted on 06/26/2006 5:10:57 PM PDT by Past Your Eyes

I am proud to come to this city as the guest of your distinguished Mayor, who has symbolized throughout the world the fighting spirit of West Berlin. And I am proud -- And I am proud to visit the Federal Republic with your distinguished Chancellor who for so many years has committed Germany to democracy and freedom and progress, and to come here in the company of my fellow American, General Clay, who -- who has been in this city during its great moments of crisis and will come again if ever needed.

Two thousand years ago, two thousand years ago, the proudest boast was "civis Romanus sum." Today, in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is "Ich bin ein Berliner."

(I appreciate my interpreter translating my German.)

There are many people in the world who really don't understand, or say they don't, what is the great issue between the free world and the Communist world.

Let them come to Berlin.

There are some who say -- There are some who say that communism is the wave of the future.

Let them come to Berlin.

And there are some who say, in Europe and elsewhere, we can work with the Communists.

Let them come to Berlin.

And there are even a few who say that it is true that communism is an evil system, but it permits us to make economic progress.

Lass' sie nach Berlin kommen. Let them come to Berlin.

Freedom has many difficulties and democracy is not perfect. But we have never had to put a wall up to keep our people in -- to prevent them from leaving us. I want to say on behalf of my countrymen who live many miles away on the other side of the Atlantic, who are far distant from you, that they take the greatest pride, that they have been able to share with you, even from a distance, the story of the last 18 years. I know of no town, no city, that has been besieged for 18 years that still lives with the vitality and the force, and the hope, and the determination of the city of West Berlin.

While the wall is the most obvious and vivid demonstration of the failures of the Communist system -- for all the world to see -- we take no satisfaction in it; for it is, as your Mayor has said, an offense not only against history but an offense against humanity, separating families, dividing husbands and wives and brothers and sisters, and dividing a people who wish to be joined together.

What is -- What is true of this city is true of Germany: Real, lasting peace in Europe can never be assured as long as one German out of four is denied the elementary right of free men, and that is to make a free choice. In 18 years of peace and good faith, this generation of Germans has earned the right to be free, including the right to unite their families and their nation in lasting peace, with good will to all people.

You live in a defended island of freedom, but your life is part of the main. So let me ask you, as I close, to lift your eyes beyond the dangers of today, to the hopes of tomorrow, beyond the freedom merely of this city of Berlin, or your country of Germany, to the advance of freedom everywhere, beyond the wall to the day of peace with justice, beyond yourselves and ourselves to all mankind.

Freedom is indivisible, and when one man is enslaved, all are not free. When all are free, then we look -- 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 -- 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."


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Germany; Government
KEYWORDS: 1963; jellydoughnut; jfk; kennedy; westberlin
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To: BookaT
"It is like saying I am a American vs. I am American."

I understand it a little differently. Many cities in Germany have a specialty food, unique to the city. The food is given the name of the city. Like hamburger is the specialty food of Hamburg (and it is not ground beef, its scrambled eggs with tomatoes, and brain soup). The food is identified with the "ein", while residency is identified with the absence of a qualifier. Thus "ein Berliner" is a jelly doughnut, while "Berliner" is a resident.

21 posted on 06/26/2006 7:24:27 PM PDT by norwaypinesavage
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To: Romanov

I think most Americans would understand the mistake better if he had said "I am a Frankfurter, or I am a Hamburger".

See we have words in English named after German cities. A Berliner is a type of pastry like a Franfurter is a type of sausage.

I think Teddy might go for the "I am a Limburger" line.


22 posted on 06/26/2006 7:29:00 PM PDT by djwright
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To: Past Your Eyes
Let them come to Berlin. JFK-1963

Let us retreat to Okinawa Sen Murtha 2006

23 posted on 06/26/2006 7:30:28 PM PDT by The Great RJ ("Mir wlle bleiwen wat mir sin" or "We want to remain what we are." ..Luxembourg motto)
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To: Little Bill

Just be leary of any bearded guys telling the oppressed to "break lose of the shackles that bind them." It's a trick! ;)


24 posted on 06/26/2006 7:47:41 PM PDT by Romanov
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To: BookaT

Durn good thing JFK wasn't in Hamburg or Franfurt. Or Wien.


25 posted on 06/26/2006 10:29:12 PM PDT by Erasmus (Run amuck. There's a lotta mucks out there a-waitin' to be run!)
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To: Little Bill
Well, I don't know about Plaistow, Littleton and Berlin. Plaistow is in Rockingham County which is at least Red. Littleton? I don't think so. Berlin? Not really, considering all the frogs that live there. Bob Danderson is the Republican mayor and, hopefully, my next congressman. Don't know much about Somersworth or Exeter but you left out one of the Bluest places in the state: Hanover/Lebanon (Dartmouth).

For a state that was sposta be a "Free State", things don't seem to be working out too well, do they?

26 posted on 06/27/2006 2:53:54 AM PDT by Past Your Eyes (Some people are too stupid to be ashamed.)
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To: CatQuilt
that´s not really true.

it wasn´t really a mistake because berlin and in many parts of germany use a different word for the cake. In berlin people call it Pfannkuchen.

In the rhineland and in parts of northern germany it is called berliner while in southern germany it is called krapfen.

It is true that the words ich bin berliner completely avoided the joke.
27 posted on 06/27/2006 7:02:08 AM PDT by stefan10
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To: Romanov
(If I could ever master posting pics on here, I'd post one)

RE: Posting pics

  1. The image must be available on a web page

  2. Use this syntax to post the image: <img src="http://www.somesite.com/folder/image.jpg">
  3. For example: <img src="http://weihnachts.rezeptbibliothek.de/images/berliner_579.jpg"> results in this:


28 posted on 06/27/2006 7:07:47 AM PDT by TChris ("Wake up, America. This is serious." - Ben Stein)
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To: BookaT
It is like saying I am a American vs. I am American. You would not say I am a American.

Yes, you would not say "I am a American," but hopefully because, being a native speaker of the English language, you would know that English grammar requires "an" in front of a noun that begins with a vowel. Many people might very well say "I am an American," on the other hand...

29 posted on 06/27/2006 7:51:41 AM PDT by Charles H. (The_r0nin) (Hwt! Lr bi mst hord, solce!)
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To: Past Your Eyes
Hanover, Oh Yes, I have to be certified to EPA section 9 every six months. I made the error of parking next to some people from Dartmouth. On my truck is: God Votes Republican, 37%'r, FReeRepublic.com, Howard Dean Is A Commie, Viet Nam Veterans against Kerry, and Liberals The Other White Meat, I got Keyed, New Truck.

This was in NH at Oak Brook Recreation area. Everyone who was there aside from those people complimented me on my moderation and bipartisanship.

30 posted on 06/27/2006 5:17:00 PM PDT by Little Bill (A 37%'r, a Red Spot on a Blue State, rats are evil.)
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To: Little Bill
ROFL! But, sorry about your truck. Them lieburralls is real compassionate and tolerant, ain't they?

No idea where Oak Brook is. Must be down in the southern part of the state.

Hey, where's a good place to get some of those good VRWC bumper stickers?

I just bought a Marine Corps flag today. I'm going to put it on my tractor for the 4th of July parade in N. Woodstock/Lincoln along with a big sign that says

REDEPLOY MURTHA

I told my minister I was going to do that and he just laughed and shook his head.

31 posted on 06/27/2006 6:45:51 PM PDT by Past Your Eyes (Some people are too stupid to be ashamed.)
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