For Immediate Release: September 19, 2013
Further information: Rachel Flor (617) 514-1662, firstname.lastname@example.org
Boston MA – The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, along with the German Consulate of Boston, today announced that they will unveil a painted, life-size, fiberglass bear sculpture at Copley Place on September 24, 2013. Originally part of a public art project in Berlin called Buddy Bears, the sculpture was presented by then German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier to Senator Edward M. Kennedy in 2008 to commemorate the solidarity his brother, John F. Kennedy, had offered the German people during his presidency. The sculpture is also presented as a symbol of solidarity between the people of the United States and Germany.
In June 1963, President John F. Kennedy visited Germany and Berlin, a city that had been divided in half by the Berlin Wall as a result of the Cold War. Speaking to an exuberant crowd of West Berliners, JFK stated:
"Two thousand years ago, the proudest boast was ‘civis romanus sum’ (I am a Roman citizen). Today, in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is ‘Ich bin ein Berliner!’ (I am a Berliner) . . . All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin, and therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words ‘Ich bin ein Berliner!’"
In 1989, the Berlin Wall came down and soon Germany and the city of Berlin were re-unified. The Bear had long been the mascot of Berlin and a decade later a whimsical public art project was launched with 350 life-size fiberglass Buddy Bear sculptures decorating the city of Berlin, each with its own unique design. Over time this one-time urban event has transformed into an international marvel with colorful bears appearing throughout the globe offering a message of peace, hope, and understanding.
The Buddy Bear sculpture that will go on display at Copley Place has been in the possession of the JFK Library since it was accepted by Senator Kennedy. Harald Leibrecht, Coordinator of Transatlantic Cooperation and a member of the German Parliament, will travel to Boston to take part in the unveiling.
The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is a presidential library administered by the National Archives and Records Administration and supported, in part, by the Kennedy Library Foundation, a non-profit organization.