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Germany

Campaign Launched for Monument to Reagan in Berlin

The son of former US President Ronald Reagan wants to see a monument his father erected in Berlin. Michael Reagan, a talk-show host and columnist in the US, is presenting his ideas in Berlin on Monday, June 30.

Ronald Reagan during famous speech

US President Ronald Reagan in 1987 calling for the Berlin Wall to come down

While Ronald Reagan's famous speech at the Brandenburg Gate on June 12, 1987 has entered the history books, the only commemoration of it is a few words on a plaque near the gate. His son would like for Berlin to see a commemorative object put up in Berlin to mark what he sees as his father's contribution to ending the Cold War.

"We can envisage a large statue or bust," Reagan, 63, told the German daily Bild. Michael Reagan is the founder the Reagan Legacy Foundation, a non-profit organization whose goal is to promote his father's ideas and memorialize his accomplishments. Ronald Reagan died in 2004.

Michael Reagan is in Berlin to put forward his plan and leading a discussion about a commemoration at Berlin's Cafe Einstein, a restaurant frequented by journalists.

"We are just at the beginning of the process," he said. "Our foundation believes that an appropriate monument for President Reagan's speech at the Brandenburg Gate is of great historical value for Berliners."

'Tear down this wall!'

Reagan and Gorbachev

Reagan had addressed his remarks in the speece to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, right.

Ronald Reagan made his historic speech during a five-hour visit to Berlin on a podium near the Brandenburg Gate, which was then cut off from West Berlin by the Berlin Wall. During the speech made in front of tens of thousands of West Berlin residents, Reagan addressed the then-Soviet leader when he said: "Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"

The Berlin Wall actually did fall 881 days later, an event that shocked the world.

"I would welcome a visible remembrance of this great friend of the Germans," said Frank Henkel, secretary-general of the conservative Christian Democrats in Berlin. "I can image a large commemorative plaque with that quotation between the new US embassy and the Brandenburg Gate."

However, during President Reagan's visit, police were faced with massive protests against his rearmament policies. Large parts of Kreuzberg district, a traditional enclave of the left in West Berlin, were sealed off to prevent rioting.

An editorial Monday in the left-wing daily Neues Deutschland said Reagan's terms in office were marked by military build-up, the "Star Wars" missile defense project, weapons deals with Iran, and the invasion of Grenada. The paper said Reagan already has a US Navy aircraft carrier named after him, which is more appropriate than a commemorate plaque or statue in Berlin.

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