A 6,000-pound slab of the Berlin Wall has found a new home in the Inland Empire.
The colorful, paint-gun splattered 3-ton section of wall is being installed at the newly established Ronald Reagan Park in San Bernardino.
Park supporters bought the historic slab through a German auction house for $2,500. It cost nearly twice that to have the 11-by-4 foot edifice shipped to Southern California.
After it arrived, a San Bernardino artist painted a silhouette of President Reagan on the side of the wall that would have faced East Berlin.
In 1987 Reagan famously called on then Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to end the city’s nearly 30-year partition during a speech at the Brandenburg Gate in West Berlin.
“There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace,” said Reagan.
“General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization, come here to this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”
Reagan’s words initially received little media attention. But the speech went on to become an indelible moment of United States-Soviet Union Cold War history. Reagan supporters generally view the Brandenburg Gate speech as the start of the Berlin Wall’s eventual collapse.
The Wall came down two years after Reagan’s speech, and nearly a year after his eight-year presidency. Ronald Reagan Park hopes to eventually install additional sections of the dismantled Wall behind a life-size sculpture of the former U.S. president.
An unveiling ceremony for the first slab of the Berlin Wall will be held next month at the San Bernardino park.