An Olympic Motivational
Speech Your Audience Will NEVER Forget!
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"Ruben's authentic, he's done it, and he's like each of us. You need your team to
get the Ruben Gonzalez story on Going for the Gold!"
- Author The Psychology of Winning. Former
Chairman of Psychology for the U.S. Olympic Committee
John F. Kennedy
"Ich Bin Ein
I am proud to come to this city
as the guest of your distinguished Mayor, who has symbolized throughout the
world the fighting spirit of West Berlin. And I am proud to visit the
Federal Republic with your distinguished Chancellor who for so many years
has committed Germany to democracy and freedom and progress, and to come
here in the company of my fellow American, General Clay, who has been in
this city during its great moments of crisis and will come again if ever
Two thousand years ago the proudest boast was "civis Romanus sum." Today, in
the world of freedom, the proudest boast is "Ich bin ein Berliner."
I appreciate my interpreter translating my German!
There are many people in the world who really don't understand, or say they
don't, what is the great issue between the free world and the Communist
world. Let them come to Berlin. There are some who say that communism is the
wave of the future. Let them come to Berlin. And there are some who say in
Europe and elsewhere we can work with the Communists. Let them come to
Berlin. And there are even a few who say that it is true that communism is
an evil system, but it permits us to make economic progress. Lass' sie nach
Berlin kommen. Let them come to Berlin.
Freedom has many difficulties and democracy is not perfect, but we have
never had to put a wall up to keep our people in, to prevent them from
leaving us. I want to say, on behalf of my countrymen, who live many miles
away on the other side of the Atlantic, who are far distant from you, that
they take the greatest pride that they have been able to share with you,
even from a distance, the story of the last 18 years. I know of no town, no
city, that has been besieged for 18 years that still lives with the vitality
and the force, and the hope and the determination of the city of West
Berlin. While the wall is the most obvious and vivid demonstration of the
failures of the Communist system, for all the world to see, we take no
satisfaction in it, for it is, as your Mayor has said, an offense not only
against history but an offense against humanity, separating families,
dividing husbands and wives and brothers and sisters, and dividing a people
who wish to be joined together.
What is true of this city is true of Germany--real, lasting peace in Europe
can never be assured as long as one German out of four is denied the
elementary right of free men, and that is to make a free choice. In 18 years
of peace and good faith, this generation of Germans has earned the right to
be free, including the right to unite their families and their nation in
lasting peace, with good will to all people. You live in a defended island
of freedom, but your life is part of the main. So let me ask you as I close,
to lift your eyes beyond the dangers of today, to the hopes of tomorrow,
beyond the freedom merely of this city of Berlin, or your country of
Germany, to the advance of freedom everywhere, beyond the wall to the day of
peace with justice, beyond yourselves and ourselves to all mankind.
Freedom is indivisible, and when one man is enslaved, all are not free. When
all are free, then we can look forward to that day when this city will be
joined as one and this country and this great Continent of Europe in a
peaceful and hopeful globe. When that day finally comes, as it will, the
people of West Berlin can take sober satisfaction in the fact that they were
in the front lines for almost two decades.
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."
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