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JFK: Proud To Be “A Berliner”

June 26, 1963 - President Kennedy, inspired by a tumultuous welcome from more than a million of the inhabitants of the isolated and divided city of Berlin, declared today that he was proud to be “a Berliner.” He said his claim to being a Berliner was based on the fact that “all free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin.” In a rousing speech to 150,000 West Berliners crowded before the City Hall, the President said anyone who thought “we can work with the Communists” should come to Berlin. The President’s City Hall speech was the emotional high point of a spectacular welcome accorded the President by West Berlin. He saluted the city as the front line and shining example of humanity’s struggle for freedom. Those who profess not to understand the great issues between the free world and the Communist world or who think Communism is the wave of the future should come to Berlin, he declared. Pierre Salinger, the President’s press secretary, said the reception in Berlin was “the greatest he has had anywhere.” Along the route from Tegel airport to the U.S. mission headquarters in the southwest corner of Berlin, waving, cheering crowds lined every foot of the way.

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