Location: Cincinnati, Ohio

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Brandenburg Gate

One of the most famous landmarks in Berlin is the Brandenburg Gate. Built in 1791 by Emperor Frederick Wilhelm II to represent peace, it was a featured backdrop to much Nazi parading. And during the Cold War, it was integrated into the Wall as it was constructed across Berlin. The photo on this side of the gate is from the former East Berlin. Directly on the other side of the gate is the Berlin Tiergarten, a large green space that runs for quite a distance. On the other side of the gate, and to the right, is the historic Reichstag, Germany's famous parliament building. It has been refubished and expanded to provide for the new German government since unification.

The street behind me as I took this photo is the famed Unter Den Linden, or under the Linden trees. Just across the open space in front of the gate a Starbuck, which was packed the morning I visited the gate. Next to the Starbucks is a museum dedicated to the Kennedy family in general and to John F. Kennedy in particular. I was running out of time for my train or I would have gone through the museum.

A note about his famous line when he spoke to thousands in Berlin. His "Ich bin ein Berliner" electrified the crowd and brought a thunderous response. While his reputation has been tarnished since in America by evidence of his sexual exploits, he remains a hero in Berlin. Since the speech many have enjoyed pointing out that the statement is not grammatically correct, that a "Berliner" is a kind of jelly doughnut made in Berlin. However, I learned on this trip to Berlin, from a Berliner, a different story. Berliners don't call the jelly doughnuts "Berliners." They call them "pfannkuchen." So, in Berlin, what JFK said was correct and the best way of adding emphasis to his statement that he was a resident of Berlin. Just for the record...


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