Message from Federal President Joachim Gauck on the Occasion of the Day of German Unity 2012Enlarge image (© Bundesbildstelle)
This year, for the first time, I am addressing you on the occasion of the Day of German Unity in my function as Federal President. It is a day that reminds us Germans what happiness our recent history has brought. In 1989, the courageous population in the East cast off the chains of oppression and fought successfully for freedom, democracy, and, in the end, the reunification of our fatherland. Today, 22 years later, we are thankful that our country has come into its own, mindful of what has been accomplished over the past decades: the economic miracle in the West, the establishment of a stable democracy and civil society there after the havoc wrought by National Socialism and the World War, and finally the peaceful revolution that brought freedom to the Germans in the East and the reunification of our country.
Germany is a free country where the rule of law prevails. It is a country both economically strong and at the same time concerned with the welfare of all members of society. We may rightly promote our social market economy as a model for the world. Today we can be proud of our country and the role it is playing in doing good in the world.
Especially in these politically and economically challenging times, we Germans remain committed to Europe. Europe is the joint response of many different countries to the wars of the 20th century, but is also a cultural home to a great variety of people, a stand-out political project and a wonderful cosmopolitan conception of unity in diversity. We want to uphold Europe now and nurture its future progress, especially when, given the current crisis, some are tempted to pull back behind national borders. We want to make Europe a space where peace and freedom are at home. We are also aware that even as a large country within Europe we are too small to mount an adequate response to political upheavals and the rapid rise of new economies around the world. We Germans need Europe. We Germans want Europe.
We want to live up to the role in Europe that our country has gradually acquired, partly on the basis of our economic strength, but above all on the basis of the reliability we have demonstrated over decades. We want to take on responsibility. This is expected of us and that it is expected of us is – in light of our past history – a great gift of trust.
Enlarge image (© BPA)