Rapid City in Pennington County, South Dakota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
The American Commitment
The Berlin Wall Memorial
The United States never wavered in its commitment to freedom and democracy in Berlin, a city isolated 100 miles inside Easts Germany. In 1948, to assert its influence over Germany, the Soviet Union blockaded land access to Berlin. The Western Allies responded with the 462-day Berlin Airlift.
During the blockade, grateful Berliners experienced a sense of belonging to the West. They gained renewed respect for political freedom and developed profound faith in the West's political order. By 1949, the Berlin Blockade made the city a symbol of freedom.
From the 1950's through the 1980's, American forces protected Berlin, a task made difficult because the German Democratic Republic, with Soviet support, repeated tried to absorb West Berlin. Backed by NATO allies, American tanks and bayonet-ready assault troops faced down the Soviets at Checkpoint Charlie in 1961.
Lyndon B. Johnson defined the extent of America's resolve when he declared to the Berlin House of Representatives that Americans had pledged their lives, possessions and holy honor as a guarantee of the survival of the city.
-- John F. Kennedy, 1963: "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.'"
-- Richard Nixon, 1969: "What you do here is done for free men everywhere throughout the world."
-- Jimmy Carter, 1978: "The eyes of all people are upon you."
-- Ronald Reagan, 1987: "General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall."
-- George Bush, 1989: "…this brutal wall cuts neighbor from neighbor, brother from brother. [It} stands as a monument to the failure of communism. It must come down."
Said one West Berliner: "Without effective, energetic support from the West, West Berlin would not have prevailed against the German Democratic Republic and the Soviet's effort to absorb West Berlin."
In 1963 President John F. Kennedy came to West Berlin to affirm American commitment tot a free Berlin. The square (since named John F. Kennedy Platz) in front of the city hall was filled with more than one million cheering Berliners in Berlin's largest ever demonstration. Kennedy dramatically stated, "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 and series. This memorial is listed in this topic list: War, Cold. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #35 John F. Kennedy, the Former U.S. Presidents: #36 Lyndon B. Johnson, the Former U.S. Presidents: #37 Richard M. Nixon, the Former U.S. Presidents: #39 James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr., the Former U.S. Presidents: #40 Ronald Reagan, and the Former U.S. Presidents: #41 George H.W. Bush series lists.
Location. 44° 5.164′ N, 103° 13.671′ W. Marker is in Rapid City, South Dakota, in Pennington County. Memorial is on Mount Rushmore Road. The Berlin Wall memorial is located in Memorial Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 434 N Mt Rushmore Rd, Rapid City SD 57701, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Cruel Border (here, next to this marker); Berlin Wall Segments Tank Traps (here, next to this marker); The Berlin Wall Memorial (a few steps from this marker); Confrontation (a few steps from this marker); Construction of the Wall (a few steps from this marker); Celebrating Victory (a few steps from this marker); A City Divided (a few steps from this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Rapid City.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker.
Also see . . . The Berlin Wall Memorial. (Submitted on July 9, 2019, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota.)
Credits. This page was last revised on July 10, 2019. It was originally submitted on July 9, 2019, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota. This page has been viewed 135 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on July 9, 2019, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.