This speech was delivered by President Ronald Reagan on June 12, 1987 when the Communist Soviet Union still engaged the United States in a Cold War and the Berlin Wall still stood dividing East and West Germany. It is the speech where Reagan said,
General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!
In Ronald Reagan An American Life, Reagan wrote,
Standing so near the Berlin Wall, seeing it in substance as well as for what it symbolized, I felt an anger well up in me, and I am sure this anger was reflected in my voice when I said those words.
I never dreamed that in less than three years the wall would come down and a six-thousand-pound section of it would be sent to me for my presidential library.
I tell the story of this speech here as a reminder that, with all the changes that have occured in their nation and Eastern Europe since then, in the spring of 1987 we were still facing a lot of uncertainty regarding the Soviets: Gorbachev had announced his new programs of perestroika and glasnost and it was evident something was up in the Soviet Union, but we still didn't know what it was.
Listen carefully to what Reagan says contrasting the Soviet economy with the German economy and the great, prosperous American economy. It was Reagan's policies that caused America to prosper and that same America is watching as all of his accomplishments, for the country he loved, are being rapidly dismantled and reversed.
Like the Soviet Union in 1987, we will be the people living in a country that is a failure because of a lack of American leadership and a war on freedom in our land.
We miss you, Mr. President.