Anniversary of fall of Berlin Wall, a lost message, lost opportunity

This past week, I have been in Europe to help commemorate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. I went into this trip with a great deal of enthusiasm and an expectation that the heroes responsible for that momentous event be justly recognized. Sadly, I was instead reminded of how much we have willingly forgotten.

The Reagan Legacy Foundation has been working hard to ensure that Berliners remember the vital role my father played in bringing down the wall and defeating communism. Amazingly, there are no major statues, memorials or tributes to Ronald Reagan — the president, the man who sided with freedom over tyranny. Thankfully, in partnering with the “Checkpoint Charlie” museum, we have now unveiled a Ronald Reagan permanent exhibit to help educate Berliners and their international guests of what would have been an unpardonable omission in modern historical analysis of that period.

During these ceremonies, I fully expected the legends of this period to be honored … to at least be mentioned. But I heard nary a mention of Reagan or Margaret Thatcher. This was both frustrating and alarming.

One only has to review modern education textbooks to see that this omission is not limited to an important celebration on a cold Berlin night. Rather, it is a trend — a trend that is removing the reference of the great heroes and leaders of the Cold War battle and replacing it with a softer, perhaps less controversial revision.

Last year, a German study revealed how disturbingly little that German youths understand about their divided history just a generation back. Two-thirds of the schoolchildren surveyed did not believe East Germans lived under a dictatorship. Nearly as many thought the East German economic system was preferable to West Germany’s. Communism, preferable?

The facts are what they are. We must not forget that the Soviet Union murdered and oppressed millions of people in an effort to conquer more territories, gain more resources and grab more power. And while the world trembled, a select few leaders of that era finally took a stand.

Germans are not the only ones who have forgotten. This lazy softening of history is equally a problem in our American classrooms. A survey in 2007 concluded fully a third of 17-year-old American students did not know that the Bill of Rights guarantees our freedoms of religion and speech.

I was proud to stand there and remember the fall of that terrible wall. But until we remember in full, we leave ourselves vulnerable to the seditious creep of socialism, communism and oppression.

Michael Reagan, the elder son of the late President Ronald Reagan, is chairman and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation (www.reaganlegacyfoundation.org).

Berlin WallMichael ReaganOp Edsop-edOpinion

Just Posted

Dreamforce returned to San Francisco in person this week – but with a tiny sliver of past attendance. (Courtesy Salesforce)
Dreamforce returns with hundreds on hand, down from 170,000 in the past

High hopes for a larger Salesforce conference shriveled during the summer

The numbers show nearly 14 percent of San Francisco voters who participated in the Sept. 14 recall election wanted to oust Gov. Gavin Newsom from elected office. (Shutterstock photo)
(Shutterstock photo)
How San Francisco neighborhoods voted in the Newsom recall

Sunset tops the list as the area with the most ‘yes’ votes

Alison Collins says that she and other members of San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education facing potential recall “represent constituents that are often erased or talked over.” <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins>
Alison Collins speaks: Embattled SF school board member confronts the recall effort

‘It’s important for folks to know what this recall is about. It’s bigger than any one of us.’

Is the Black Cat incident a distraction from the recovery of The City’s storied nightlife industry or does Mayor London Breed’s behavior inadvertently highlight the predicament the industry’s been in since San Francisco reinstated indoor mask requirements on Aug. 20?<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner, 2021)</ins>
Club owners to maskless mayor: Are we the new fun police?

Black Cat affair highlights difficult recovery for nightlife industry

BART’s Powell Street station in The City was the site of a fatal accident on Sept. 13.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins>
Powell Station death serves as a grim reminder. BART doors don’t stop for anyone

What you need to know about safety sensors on the trains

Most Read