[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1998, Book I)] [May 14, 1998] [Pages 757-758] [From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]
Remarks to the People of Eisenach May 14, 1998 Thank you. Chancellor Kohl, President Vogel, Mayor Brodhum, to the people of Eisenach, especially to all of the young people who are here, thank you for making us feel so welcome. Now I have some idea of why Martin Luther called Eisenach ``my beloved city.'' And I have some sense of the spirit and independence that inspired Johann Sebastian Bach, who as a young composer experimented with counterpoint, annoying the elders of the church where he played the organ but thrilling everyone else in the world. As has already been said, after American soldiers arrived here at the end of the Second World War, one of their first acts was to issue an order to permit the rebuilding of the Bach House. I am still proud of that historic action by our forces. As you know, by previous agreement Eisenach was placed under control of Soviet forces, but our soldiers never forgot this wonderful city, and you never forgot what the feel of freedom was like. Just think, 15 years ago, how many of us would have thought that today an American President and a German Chancellor could stand on this spot in a united Germany, in a uniting Europe? Thanks in no small measure to the leadership of your Chancellor, Germany today is one nation, in harmony with its neighbors, at the center of Europe's efforts to make the 21st century one of democracy, prosperity, and peace. I know that throughout the eastern lands, the efforts to unify and rebuild have not been easy. I know that sacrifices have been made. I know that still work must be done, but do not forget [[Page 758]] the great progress you have made in such a short time. And do not underestimate what you can do with your dreams as free people. We have just toured your General Motors Opel plant, established in 1991. It is now a model for the entire world, with its technology, with strong worker participation in decisions, with innovative efforts to protect the environment. I am proud that American companies like GM have invested in your future. I want more of them to do it until every person in every part of Germany has a chance to live up to the fullest of his or her God-given abilities. As you march into the future, you have not forgotten your past. You honor Luther and Bach and teach the world of their gifts, and you honor America by recalling our role in your journey to freedom. As the mayor said, you have a sister city in the United States, in Waverly, Iowa. In your city hall there is a quilt handmade by women from Waverly, Iowa, most of them of German heritage, one of them 101 years old when she worked on the quilt. Through your darkest years, these long-lost German cousins of yours never lost faith that one day you would be free. On this beautiful Thuringian day in the spring, we are bathed in the light and the warmth of freedom. May it always shine across Germany, across this continent, across the world, and may you have every opportunity you have waited so long and are working so hard for. Thank you, and God bless you. Note: The President spoke at 4:42 p.m. in Market Square. In his remarks, he referred to Minister President Bernhard Vogel of Thuringia; and Mayor Peter Brodhum of Eisenach.