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Merkel’s Eloquent Toast to Obama and the United States

I don’t know, maybe I’m just not used to Europeans expressing gratitude to the United States. Or politicians delivering eloquent statements immersed in real thoughts, feelings, and history – however uncomfortable and true. But Chancellor Merkel’s toast to President Obama and the United States tonight struck a chord with me, and I thought you might like to read some excerpts.

Barack Obama, I think what was possible today also, again, was to show you how many people here in Germany feel a great sense of admiration towards you — because, in many ways, you personally embody the image of the United States as a country of unlimited possibility . . .

Mr. President, your visit shows yet again how close this friendship is, and that it is a friendship that is not only close but that is also unshakeable in its foundation, but that certainly is not something that can be taken as a matter of course. It’s not a natural kind of development if you think of the past of the two terrible wars and the wars for which Germany was responsible.

If you think of the break with civilization that the Shoah had constituted, if you think of the long way that we’ve come together — for example, the fact that then your country stretched out a hand of friendship, the Candy Bombers; that Kennedy made this commitment to our country in saying, “I am a Berliner.” All of that has not come as a matter of course. All the way to Ronald Reagan’s exclamation, tear down — an appeal — “Tear down this wall.”

We’ve come a long way. Again, it was not a matter of course, it was not natural, but it is a long way that has brought us to this place where we finally can celebrate, can meet together and celebrate our freedom together.

All the way leading up to German unity, to the unification of our country, you have demonstrated that you trust us, that the United States of America places great trust in our country. During the period of the Cold War, you have demonstrated time and again that you support us, that you place trust in us, and that is something for which we are very grateful . . .

This world of the 21st century is growing ever closer together, but it is true that in this 21st century too, as I said, I see great challenges ahead. And what’s also true is, in order to master those challenges, there can possibly and arguably be no better partner for Germany, for Europe, than the United States of America, and the reverse, obviously, is also true.

So allow me to raise my glass and drink to your very good health, Mr. President, to the very good health of your wife, Michelle — (applause) — and to pay tribute at the same time to the friendship between the Federal Republic of Germany and the United States, and to the people of America and the people of Germany who constitute the true core of our friendship.

Merkel, as you may know, grew up in East Germany. Maybe she has just a little bit more appreciation than her EU partners of the value of freedom and the United States.

Thank you, Chancellor, for your friendship as well.

28 thoughts on “Merkel’s Eloquent Toast to Obama and the United States”

  1. “Maybe she has just a little bit more appreciation than her EU partners of the value of freedom and the United States.”
    Lovely post, Keith. Now if we could get that “little bit more appreciation
    of the value of freedom and the United States” from the chief perp himself…

  2. Personally I can’t even read your selections. Obama embodies everything East Berlin stood for—control the LIVES OF OTHERS. She may admire the US, but I don’t see how she can admire Obama except in the fact that he has become the first African American POTUS. I would have much preferred Dr. Carson than this communist puppet.

          1. I don’t think so, but I’ve studied Russian and German, and watching those movies with subtitles is the only way I can practice the languages these days.

          2. Thanks.

            (Sometimes I find that subtitles are needed even for films that are in English. The quality sure does vary. Some of the subtitles need their own subtitles!)

        1. Oh, wait. I think there was talk of a Hollywood version at one time but don’t know if it ever came about. The German movie is almost perfect, and I’d hate to see what Hollywood would do to it.

  3. This was not a tribute to Obama personally but to the United States and the people of the United States.

    “All the way leading up to German unity, to the unification of our country, you have demonstrated that you trust us, that the United States places its trust in us.”

    This is a tribute to Obama’s predecessors, and may even be a little dig at the surveillance of European countries, our allies, going on under Obama now. Earlier in the day Angela Merkel said that there
    are limits to surveillance. Isn’t there an echo of that in this toast at the banquet?

  4. What an extraordinary toast, a thank you from Germany.
    I read that she was expressing her country’s gratitude towards the people of America who helped rebuild and then protect them after the horrors of WWII.

    Thanks for linking that toast, it’s rare that we hear such kind and thoughtful words from a foreign leader.
    It’s too bad that most Americans who were responsible for the rebuilding and the now prosperous future of Germany are no longer with us, they would have nodded and said “you’re welcome”.

  5. What most don’t realize is the enormous amount of time we spent rebuilding Germany after WW2. We still have a presence there after 70 years. You have to begin rebuilding with the generation after the failed leaders. Our country, now, doesn’t have the interest to expend the money and time necessary to actually change a country towards democracy. We see it in the ME, we go in for a while and then leave them to figure out the rest. It doesn’t work. We did the same for Japan that we did for Germany with the same good results.

  6. Was Carly Simon singing in the background during the toast?
    “…I bet you think this song is about you….don’t you?”

    1. It’s always all about him, in Barry’s little mind.

      Merkel’s comments were most gracious. What a treat to hear a real leader speak. It seems to me that most of her remarks praised past presidents and their relationship building between the USA and Germany, which took place long before Barry burst onto the scene.

  7. Does it bother anyone ELSE when ANY other world leader speaks eloquently and graciously – whether it’s deserved or not – thus giving us a point of comparison with OUR, eh, “leader”, who can’t do either on his own? Oh sure, he can read a PREPARED speech off TOTUS when the sun don’t shine and be as eloquent as IT is, but gracious? Never.

    Sigh. Almost as off-putting as when Prime Minister Netanyahu was over and demonstrated what a statesman ACTUALLY looks like, making our post-turtle POTUS seem rather hollow by comparison…

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