Ich bin ein Berliner

President Kennedy in Berlin, June 26, 1963[10]It was an American president who said it years ago standing in front of a wall that needed to come down. “I am a Berliner,” said John F. Kennedy.

The world applauded.

Decades later another American president kept his words and his hands to himself when his German guest from Berlin, German Chancellor Andrea Merkel, asked,

“Do you want to have a handshake?”


The world frowned, remembering the student of American character Alexis de Tocqueville‘s observation. “When the past no longer enlightens the future, the spirit walks in darkness.”

Older Americans, recalling with pride the old president’s “handshake” at the wall, found ourselves speaking German.

“Heute, Herr Präsident, Sie haben uns peinlich gemacht. Heute sine wir Berliner –“Today, Mr. President, you embarrassed us. Today we are Berliners!”

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, May 31, 2017.

2 thoughts on “Ich bin ein Berliner

    • Marilyn, if there were not already good reasons to explain the biblical wisdom that our years are “three score years and 10” (a number that is unwisely increasing with time until the human species extinguishes itself), having to suffer through the comparison of DJT with JFK would be reason enough. If this keeps up, I have five more years and two months left…or less.

      Liked by 1 person

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