U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry recalled for young Germans Tuesday when he snuck out of the American embassy in divided postwar Berlin at age 12 for a clandestine bicycle ride into the Soviet-controlled eastern part of the city.
Kerry told the story to a group of young people in a packed Internet cafe in Berlin as he defended U.S. freedom of speech laws, saying that 'In America, you have a right to be stupid.'
'I saw the difference between east and west,' said Kerry, who had lived in Berlin in 1950s with his family and American diplomat father. 'I saw the people wearing darker clothing. There were fewer cars. I didn't feel the energy or the movement.'
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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry recalled for young Germans Tuesday when he snuck out of the American embassy in divided postwar Berlin at age 12 for a clandestine bicycle ride into the Soviet-controlled eastern part of the city
Kerry addressed a town hall meeting Tuesday in a packed Internet cafe during a nine-country dash through Europ eand the Middle East
Kerry shakes hands with the children of U.S. Embassy staff at the Embassy in Berlin
Kerry recalled that when he returned home from his secretive bicycle ride through East Berlin, his father was livid.
He 'got very upset with me and said: "You could have created an international incident. I could have lost my job." So I lost my passport, and I was grounded and I never made another trip like that,' Kerry said.
As he looks back on that day in 1954, Kerry said: 'I never forgot and now it's vanished. Now, so many other countries have followed with this spirit of giving life to people's individual hopes and aspirations.'
Kerry's trip to Berlin, his first as secretary of state, is part of a nine-country dash through Europe and the Middle East.
He is using the visit as an opportunity to praise religious and political tolerance in the U.S. and encourage other countries to seek the same freedoms.
'In America, you have a right to be stupid, if you want to be,' he said. 'And you have a right to be disconnected to somebody else if you want to be. And we tolerate that - we somehow make it through that.
John Kerry, in the 9th grade at St. Paul's School in 1959, is pictured (back row far right) with the St. Paul's School soccer team
About 10 years after his bicycle ride through East Berlin, Kerry was a student at Yale. Here, he converses with Vice President Hubert Humphrey at a reception at Yale's Art and Architecture Building
John Kerry is pictured here (front row, second from right) in 1962 as a senior a at St. Paul's School with the Dramatic Club
Kerry's senior portrait from high school is seen here
Tolerance is 'something worth fighting for,' he explained.
'We live and breathe the idea of religious freedom and religious tolerance, whatever the religion - and political freedom and political tolerance, whatever the point of view,' he said.
In an aside, Kerry also took the opportunity to heap praise on the preppy New England clothing line Vineyard Vines, which is popular on Capitol Hill and in upscale communities across the Northeast, after someone complimented him on his pink tie.
After praising the company, he said to laughter, 'I don't own any stock in the company.'
Kerry has formerly addressed his Berlin outing in an address to State Department employees earlier this month.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is applauded as he arrives to attend the town hall meeting in Berlin titled ìYouth Connect: Berlinî
Kerry, right, signs a 'Facebook Wall' after speaking at the Youth Connect: Berlin event
'If the tabloids today knew I had done that, I can see the headlines that say, "Kerry's Early Communist Connections!'" he joked.
On a more serious note, he explained, 'There were very few people. They were dressed in dark clothing. They kind of held their heads down. I noticed all this.
'There was no joy in those streets. And when I came back, I felt this remarkable sense of relief and a great lesson about the virtue of freedom and the virtue of the principles and ideals that we live by and that drive us.'
I see Kerry is continuing to proudly exercise his right to be a c**t...
I should add, this from a man that 'invents' Central asian countries... - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/us-politics/9892297/John-...
Exactly, DTOM! He burns my azz uP!!! He's going country to country right now giving away millions more of taxpayers money.....to help the zionist b$)*T#*%d's. Makes me furious. Thanks Hollywood!