I had the extreme great fotrune to be the trip coordinator on this trip to Berlin. I remember all the long days and late-night hours of planning that went into our visit to Berlin. The one thing we had diffulcult planning for was the weather. We needed to build the staging in front of the Berlin Wall that would fit the enormity of the event and the participants that day, but also allow for this monumental speech to be given rain or shine. We ended up building a stage with a roof overhead for protection from threatening rains; but yet would allow for removal of the roof with a few hours notice. We all knew the event would be more powerful without the roof overhead, but we woke up the morning of June 12, 1987 to dark clouds and thunderstorms. As Air Force One got closer to arriving to Berlin that late morning, we had to make a final weather call and decide whether or not to remove the roof for President Reagan's famous speech to General Secretary Gorbachev. The advance team made the call to remove the roof of the stage with just minutes to spare, as we had received word that Air Force One was en route to Berlin. The press needed time to reset and plan on relighting the event with no roof..
We worried about our premature call as the clouds remained dark and rain continued to fall in Berlin. The advance team made sure we had plenty of umbrellas to pass out to the dais guests if the rain continued. As the Berlin Wall site team got word Air Force One had just landed at Tempelhof Air Force Base, the sunshine came pouring through the clouds and rain instantly stopped! I remained at my post at the base of the stage ready to slide umbrellas deftly to the guests as President Reagan urged "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" Although he delivered that speech that day in slightly overcast conditions, the rain did not fall again.
To this day I get goose bumps to think back on how lucky I was to witness that moment in time. I thought I would never again be a part of such a historical moment in my lifetime. But I was again incredibly fortunate to be doing the lead advance for a trip to New York City for President and Mrs. Reagan in November, 1989. President Reagan was meeting in his suite with a number of former colleagues throughout the day and early evening. Mrs. Reagan and I were in another room in their suite and we were watching the news being reported that the Berlin Wall was, in fact, coming down. Mrs. Reagan and I went into the living room to inform the President and turn on the television. We stood there that evening watching this great event unfold and I reminded the President that I had been with with him on the trip to Berlin when he delivered his speech in June, 1987. I told him that night that I could never in my lifetime envision being present for those two great moments in history; but that I could not even begin to imagine what he was feeling at that moment knowing his words a few years earlier played such a part in tearing that wall down. He replied that Secretary Gorbachev deserved all the credit for that moment; but I know differently!