Germany is celebrating 30 years of unity today.
The story of German unity is reflected in millions of human stories, such as those of our colleagues, which we shared with you in the run-up to today.
Let me highlight another fascinating story, that of the village of Mödlareuth, a remote farming village nearly three hundred kilometres southwest of Berlin.
The village has straddled the frontier between the German states of Bavaria and Thuringia since the early nineteenth century, but the border hardly mattered until the end of the Second World War.
It was then that Germany was carved in two.
A wall, complete with guard towers, mines and machine guns, soon followed, earning Mödlareuth the nickname “Little Berlin”.
For nearly half of the twentieth century, the Iron Curtain divided the village in two and put it on the frontline of the Cold War.
Today the people of Mödlareuth live in a united village, in a united Germany.
They live in a country that is:
- economically strong,
- and firmly embedded in the European Union and NATO.
Our citizens have friends and contacts throughout the world.
Germany is a country brimming with creativity and innovation;
a country that stands for diversity and tolerance.
Clearly, today is a day to be thankful.
We are thankful to the courageous people of East Europe and East Germany who started a peaceful revolution and brought down the Wall and the Iron Curtain.
The gift of German unity comes with a responsibility, including the responsibility to keep the Alliance strong.
And Germany will continue to invest in this Alliance so that it remains the bedrock of our security in Europe and North America and a key pillar of effective multilateralism.
Reflecting on the many stories that collectively make up German unity, we have truly created something unique.
As Germany. Together with our allies and friends.