Reflections on the Fall of the Wall: Letters from Speaker Boehner and Chairman Royce to Chancellor Merkel
To recognize the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall,
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) sent a letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany in which he writes, “Here in the United States, we are aware of the debt we owe to ordinary German citizens who longed for freedom and risked everything they had for it.”
Read the full letter here or below.
Representative Edward R. Royce, chairman of the U.S. House or Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, also wrote to Chancellor Merkel congratulating her and the German people on the anniversary. ”The German people have surmounted tremendous challenges in creating a strong, unified democratic state that Germany is today…In fact, your life and career in politics are testament that free men and women living in a democratic system can accomplish goals that once seemed unimaginable.”
Read the full letter here or below.
Text of Speaker Boehner’s letter
Dear Chancellor Merkel,
As the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall nears, I have been reflecting on how captivating those events were and what they all meant.
That night demonstrated for our children what the human spirit can achieve. It showed them that the desire for liberty never dies. This is the great thread that links all of us, no matter where we’re from, no matter how dire our situation. Even here in the United States, we are aware of the debt we owe to ordinary German citizens who longed for freedom and risked everything they had for it. You could retrace their steps to the peaceful protests in Leipzig, where you studied, or go all the way back to the uprisings of 1953, and strikes that included Templin, your hometown.
Not long after that, President Dwight D. Eisenhower wrote a letter to the German chancellor, the last paragraph of which reads: “No one can foretell what the unfolding months will bring, but it can certainly be said that the workers of Berlin’s Soviet Sector and the workers of East Germany, with the workers of Czechoslovakia, have started something that will have an important place on the pages of history. May the concluding chapter of that history record the reemergence of freedom, of peace, and of happiness.”
What a story it turned out to be, and on this proud occasion for your country, allow me to express the gratitude and appreciation of the U.S. House of Representatives for the enduring friendship between our peoples.
John A. Boehner
Text of Chairman Royce’s letter:
Dear Madame Chancellor:
I wish to congratulate you and the people of the Federal Republic on the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
In the autumn of 1989, no one could imagine exactly how a Europe whole and free would look. The German people have surmounted tremendous challenges in creating the strong, unified democratic state that Germany is today. Your leadership has been key to expanding this progress and building upon the initial strong foundations laid by Chancellor Kohl. In fact, your life and career in politics are testaments that free men and women living in a democratic system can accomplish goals that once seemed unimaginable.
I am proud of the supportive role that America has been able to provide as Germany undertook its transformation, and am deeply pleased that this relationship has evolved into the strong alliance that we currently enjoy. Germany’s impressive history has inspired other countries who have worked to overcome a communist dominated past. In that light, the cooperation between your government, the Christian Democratic Union, and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in promoting institutions of democracy in Central and Eastern Europe and other parts of the world is crucially important. This cooperation is particularly significant now, as our focus turns to Ukraine and our countries’ advice and support to the Ukrainian people as they continue their reform efforts.
This anniversary also provides an opportunity to convey to younger generations the crucial importance of our alliance with Germany. I would like to reiterate to you that we remain committed today to the vision of a “Europe whole and free”, and look forward to working in my role in the U.S. Congress to reinforce our relationship. Congratulations again on this important 25th anniversary, which your friends and allies in the United States celebrate with you and the people of Germany.
EDWARD R. ROYCE