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4th of July Remarks
Ambassador William R. Timken, Jr. Berlin
July 4, 2008



Madam Chancellor - on behalf of President George W. Bush and the American people, thank you for joining us on this special day.
My friend President Bush - thank you for coming to Berlin once again.
My wife Sue Timken - thank you for being my partner in all we have done.
Current and former dignitaries of the Federal Government,
Governing Mayor of Berlin,
Honored Guests from Washington,
Meine Damen und Herren, Willkommen!

Thank you all for being on Pariser Platz as we celebrate the 232nd year of the founding of the United States of America. Not only do we celebrate our nationís birthday: after some 68 years we celebrate the return of our embassy to the original Chancery site on Pariser Platz, next to the Brandenburg Gate. During most of those 68 long years no person could have imagined we would be here on this historic day.

From enemies at war, we have traveled together a long road. Our relationship has moved from enemies to liberators to occupiers to protectors to friends. We have gone through the difficult times after the hot war, through the tensions of the cold war, through the trials of unification to this very moment when the United States and Germany stand shoulder to shoulder as true global partners.

This new Chancery is not just a building. It stands here next to the Brandenburg Gate, within a stoneís throw of the Reichstag and the German Chancellery. It is the symbol of the partnership between the German and American people. That partnership has been called the foundation of the great transatlantic alliance of democracies which transformed Europe. It is the most successful alliance in history, and has brought freedom, economic prosperity and peace to so many millions of people in Europe.

400 years ago Germans apparently were amongst the first but unsuccessful settlers at Jamestown in North America. The Germans kept coming to America and contributed so much to the development of America that today we estimate more than 60 million Americans have German heritage. These immigrants went to America to live under the values of personal liberty, democracy, religious freedom and economic opportunity. They built a government of the People, by the People, and for the People. Today the German nation is firmly built on those same values. This mingling of our blood is unparalleled with any other nation. And it continues until this very day. Many of our young American citizens are your children and grandchildren.

211 years ago, in 1797 the new American government sent its first American diplomat to the court of the King of Prussia. John Quincy Adams, son of American President John Adams, and soon to be President himself, lived right here on Pariser Platz.

During World Wars I and II, 300,000 young American men and women died across the ocean, far from their homes and families, to bring freedom to the people of Europe.

60 years ago, Joseph Stalin decided to drive the Allied Forces out of Berlin. He wanted to bring millions more Berliners under the communist yoke. President Truman said "We will stay in Berlin." The Luftbruecke was the answer.

Moments ago here stood Col. Gail Halvorsen and Dr. Moore who together with thousands of fellow air crew members became the symbol of hope to Berliners. On June 26, 1948 they began their flights. Some died in crashes but these brave aviators triumphed. It was clear to all, a free Berlin and Germany would have a future. Thank you Col. Halvorsen and Dr. Moore. Thanks to all your fellow fliers represented by those here today.

45 years ago President Kennedy came to Berlin and said "Ich bin ein Berliner." Once again hope for a future. America had not forgotten.

21 years ago President Reagan came to Berlin and said "General Secretary Gorbachev: Come here to this Gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this Gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this Wall." This was not just hope for Berliners - a demand was made for the end of a divided Europe.

19 years ago the people of Berlin did just that. They tore that wall down and opened that gate. They gave birth to the prospect of a unified Germany and Europe.

Then it was up to another American President - GHW Bush to tell the English and the French that the United States of America insisted that the German people be permitted to unify their nation; with complete sovereignty.

Thank you Mr. President.

In January 1993 American Ambassador Bob Kimmitt and President von Weizsaecker put a marker stone right over there which said the U.S. Embassy will be rebuilt here.

Thank you, Bob Kimmitt and Dr. von Weizsaecker and all who made it possible. It took a while but there it is.

How fortunate we are at this historical moment to reap the benefit of what has been accomplished by all those who have gone before us. Even better, how fortunate we are to be here today amongst many of those same historic figures.

We must remember this moment for the rest of our lives. We must accept the responsibility for further building our future partnership upon the solid foundation we have been provided.

To Annette Thor and the Federation of German American Clubs, your work over the years to promote our relationship has been fantastic.

By stepping forward on your 60th Anniversary to be our partner for the New Embassy celebration and the America Fest tomorrow, you have shown the same commitment to the future.

I cannot end without thanking each and every one of you for joining us today. I want to especially thank all who worked to make our event possible - and a very special thanks to all our sponsors.

God Bless America. God Bless Germany. Vielen Dank.

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Updated: July 2008