A moment in history

| 29 Jun 2017 | 06:56

June 26 marks the 54th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's speech in Berlin: "Ich bin ein Berliner (I am a Berliner)."
And a newly found photograph posted by the JFK Presidential Library shows the president greeting enlisted men and families during his review of U.S. Army and Air Force NATO Units in Germany just the day before the speech.
Also in the photo is U.S. Army Major William J. Larkin Jr., the longtime New York State senator from Cornwall-on-Hudson.
At the time, Larkin was a member of the Military Police Corps. He is the man in glasses standing to the right of Kennedy and to the immediate left of the soldier in the tan uniform.
The Commander in Chief of United States forces in Europe, General Paul L. Freeman Jr., credited Larkin's involvement in the mission.
"While many units and individuals contributed to the success of the recent visit of the President of the United States to Europe, your participation in this event was singularly noteworthy," Freeman wrote in a July 13, 1963, letter to Larkin. "The time and effort required to prepare for this assignment and the long hours demanded of you in implementing it are appreciated.
"The many and varied details inherent to a mission of this magnitude require the utmost in competence and initiative," the general continued. "The manner in which you contributed to this project is in keeping with the high standards of the United States Army, Europe, reflects very favorably upon your military knowledge and professional ability and contributed significantly to ensure the success of the President's visit."
Kennedy's June 1963 speech at the Berlin Wall was historic. Less than two decades after the end of World War II, in a West Germany that was now an American ally, Kennedy "was received as something of a rock star by young and old alike," according to a report in Life.com.
Kennedy would be assassinated within five months.
The Berlin Wall would fall 26 years later.