Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in Germany this week to mark the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, which is officially on Saturday.
During his visit, Pompeo joined U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell to unveil a statue of President Ronald Reagan at the U.S. Embassy and blasted communism during a speech to mark the occasion.
"Thirty years, and we stand on a piece of real estate that was part of the kill zone, a place along the border – it was a no man’s land. I’d seen that from the other side, and I had two instances where I saw people try to make a break across that very space – not here, but in another part. I think we’re also well acquainted with the famous – most famous, perhaps – President Reagan’s famous words where he said: 'tear down this wall.' I want to just make sure we reflect on why he said it, because I think it’s very telling for what our duty is as we move forward," Pompeo said at the event. "Look at something else he once said. He said, quote, 'Freedom is not the sole prerogative of a chosen few. It is the universal right of all of God’s children.' Everyone, everywhere is entitled to that freedom."
"It’s a bold claim, and it’s an idea that our nation was founded on, and one that we work at tirelessly," he continued. "Because of his courageous leadership and his commitment to that freedom, he courageously denounced the greatest threat to them of this day to that freedom – the Soviet Empire, the evil empire. He knew that instead of protecting a citizen’s right, they brutalized citizens or executed them. He oversaw – and he knew that those leaders oversaw communist lackeys in countries like East Germany that did the very same thing to their people."
For Pompeo, an Army veteran who graduated from West Point, the occasion is personal. In the 1980s, he was stationed in Germany and patrolled the line between freedom and communism.
"When I was stationed here, I heard his beautiful compelling words. They had a special resonance for me as I sat in those barracks at Camp Gates. Yeah, they were really nice. Because I could look across the border each time we’d go out on patrol, and I could see the grim reality, the grey reality of life on the other side," he said. "We didn’t get to talk to them, we didn’t get to know them, but we could see the conditions in which their leaders put their people."
Glad to have had the honor of meeting & thanking our brave @USArmyEurope troops and visiting historical sites in Moedlareuth and Leipzig. It was a privilege to go back to where I once served during a pivotal time in history. I'm extremely proud of how far we've come. pic.twitter.com/kY7dEj8A62— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) November 8, 2019
During his trip, Pompeo met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in addition to other leaders and diplomats, and visited the historic Neue Synagogue.
Humbled to stand in the Neue Synagogue in what was once East Berlin, on the eve of the 81st anniversary of Pogromnacht, when the synagogue was desecrated. We must acknowledge painful histories so we can ensure that they never happen again. #NeverAgain pic.twitter.com/2u5NdQtxwF— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) November 8, 2019