John F. Kennedy, my neighbour.

On June 26, 1963, John F. Kennedy gave one of his most memorable speeches, here in Berlin, on the steps of the town hall of the Berlin suburb of Schöneberg, some 400,000 people gathered in the square as he spoke the words that are so deeply embedded in German history: “All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin, and, therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words ‘Ich bin ein Berliner!'”. When John F. Kennedy was assassinated later that same year, the people of West-Berlin came again, shocked to their very core, and gathered at Schöneberg’s town hall to mourn their hero. Today, over 50 years later, on a cold and grey December morning, shortly before Christmas, I became a Berliner myself, by finally getting officially registered at the very same town hall, way too late, the town hall girls made fun of my holding back for all these months, but alas, procrastination is my second name, and now, somehow quite moved by the location, very much moved, actually, I take pride in these same words, “Ich bin ein Berliner!”.

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One thought on “John F. Kennedy, my neighbour.

  1. I remember reading how Kennedy spent a huge amount of time preparing this speech, especially practising the line in German which seemed so spontaneous. Anyway, I have never been inside the town hall but it really is lovely, as is the beautiful park nearby which I hope you also got to see. Thank you for this slice of history.

    Liked by 1 person

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