All the memorials on the National Mall were erected for a reason and the German-American Friendship Garden is no different. Nothing is here by accident.
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In 1988 at the end of his presidency, Ronald Reagan and West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl dedicate the garden. The German American relationship went through a lot during Reagan’s time in the White House. Germans opposed, but nonetheless accepted, deployment of Pershing II missiles. Then there was the time Kohl roped Reagan into laying a wreath at a cemetery where SS soldiers were buried. That didn’t play well here. But Reagan wanted to show a strong German American alliance to the Soviet Union, and a garden across the street from the White House was one way to do that. A year later, the Berlin Wall comes down and two years after that East and West Germany reunite.