USJF working to build Reagan memorial in Berlin

December 13, 2009 @

REPORT FROM BERLIN
By Gary Kreep
As many of our supporters are aware, the United States Justice Foundation (USJF) has been involved in assisting Michael Reagan, and the Reagan Legacy Foundation, since March, 2009, in establishing a suitable memorial to the involvement that President Ronald Reagan had in the fall of the Berlin Wall, and, in general, in the fall of communism.

Originally, the erection of a statue of Ronald Reagan in Berlin was contemplated. However, the bureaucratic roadblocks put in the way of this proposal by the left-wing Berlin city government made that idea an impossibility if the project was to be completed before the 20th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall on Nov. 9, 2009.

As a result, discussions then turned to the possibility of working with a museum in Berlin on this project. At this point, USJF, as part of its commitment to promote the memory of Ronald Reagan through this project, agreed to provide up to $25,000 to pay for a private attorney in Berlin to facilitate the work with the museum. Ultimately, USJF invested over $40,000 for attorney fees and related costs to help bring this memorial to fruition.

I made two trips to Berlin, in May and June, 2009, to work with representatives of the Reagan Legacy Foundation in negotiating with the Mauer Museum on this matter. The Museum overlooks what was Checkpoint Charlie in the Berlin Wall—for those who have not been to Berlin, the location of the vast majority of the Berlin Wall that has been taken down (parts of it still stand) is marked by a double row of bricks on the streets, sidewalks, etc.

The result was that on Nov. 6, 2009, the Ronald Reagan Wing of the Mauer (Checkpoint Charlie) Museum was opened. Michael Reagan, President Reagan’s oldest son, and his wife, Colleen, were present at the opening, as this is part of Michael’s dream to promote his father’s values and beliefs around the world. A Member of the Bundestag (the German Parliament) attended and made a presentation. More interestingly, Dr. Lothar de Maiziere, the first democratically elected, and last, Prime Minister of East Germany, who was in office when the Berlin Wall fell, attended and shared his admiration for Ronald Reagan and his efforts to free the people of Germany, which began in 1982—he also discussed his feelings about the opposition of the left-wing Berlin city government to honoring Ronald Reagan, and, specifically, how one or more streets in Berlin should be named after President Reagan for his work in bringing down the Berlin Wall. I was blessed to have been invited by Michael Reagan and his wife to attend the opening with them.

The Mauer Museum was originally set up to publicize the loss of life caused by Communism in Germany after the fall of Nazi Germany, and to celebrate those who escaped from Communism over, under, or through the Berlin Wall. In touring the Museum, which I have done several times as a result of USJF’s involvement in this matter, I reviewed a book there, listing all of the documented deaths caused by the Communists in Germany. In it, I found the name of 3 of my relatives that the Communists had killed. That “brought things home” to me, making it more than my simply wanting to honor the memory of President Reagan, as well as to promote his values and beliefs, but, also, to want to do all that I could to make sure that no one ever again has to lose family members to tyranny.

The next night, the new Barack Obama appointed U. S. Ambassador to Germany held a reception for Michael Reagan and those with him, including me. In his brief remarks, this former Goldman Sachs executive talked about his admiration for Ronald Reagan, and of how he would do all that he could to help in having a street named for Ronald Reagan in Berlin, as he believed that it was something that should be done.

On November 8, 2009, we visited the Potsdam facility where the USSR, the USA, Britain, and France negotiated the post-World War II division, and governance, of Germany, and, specifically, Berlin. We ate dinner there and heard a speech from another Member of the Bundestag.

On November 9, 2009, I and staff and supporters of the Reagan Legacy Foundation toured the area around the site of the celebration of the Fall of the Berlin Wall that evening. While on that task, we encountered Bon Jovi, who admitted that his performance was going to be lip-synced, due to technical problems there. We also encountered Henry Kissinger and Tom Brokaw there.

While Michael Reagan was a VIP at the celebration of the fall, the rest of us attended a memorial for the victims of Crystal Nacht at a Berlin Synagogue that night, and we all attended a dinner at a museum in Berlin afterward.

The next day, Michael Reagan went to Poland for celebrations honoring his father’s involvement in the fall of Communism there. While I had originally been asked to accompany him there, that turned out not to be necessary, and so I proceeded to prepare to journey home.

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