I spent most of last week in Berlin, taping an upcoming Fox News Channel special on Ronald Reagan's "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that wall" speech. I found in Berlin evidence of the power of moral clarity and the poignancy of passing time.
Fifteen years ago, a defiant Ronald Reagan stood at the base of an equally defiant wall. In a moment that crystallized the showdown between two ideologies, one a gospel of freedom, the other of fear and subjugation, Reagan ignored the advice of his top counselors and called for the fall of the wall. The dream came true two years later.
Back then a no man's land of green space separated the two Berlins. Nearly 200 people died trying to dash across that lawn to freedom.
But now the greensward is gone. Banks, offices and shops have sunk their foundations into the killing fields. The once Communist Grand Hotel now looks out on a building that houses dealerships for Rolls Royces, Bentleys and Bugattis.
Berlin is a much changed place. Unified, bustling and free. Yet Ronald Reagan, who moved boldly when others urged silence, rests in California, unaware.
This week Congress will award gold medals to Reagan and his wife, Nancy. In so doing, legislators will acknowledge what Berliners have known too long and too well: Ideas matter, but only if one is courageous enough to back conviction with action.