WEST BERLIN -- President Reagan helped celebrate Berlin's 750th anniversary Friday by noting he doesn't often get the chance to honor a birthday of anything or anybody older than his 76 years.
When one of the thousands of red, white and blue balloons popped as he was addressing hundreds of Americans at Tempelhof U.S. Air Base, Reagan cracked without breaking stride: 'Missed me.'
Reagan was in good humor during the American-style festivities, joining in singing 'Happy Birthday' to Berlin and signing a presidential proclamation honoring the founding of the divided German city.
'It's not often you get to go to a birthday party for something older than I am,' he told the crowd.
Noting plans by the radio service in the American sector in four-power Berlin to begin television service, Reagan said: 'I can't help wondering if they'll show 'Bedtime for Bonzo.''
As the thousands of balloons dropped from nets along the ceiling, popping like fireworks, the band played 'Stars and Stripes Forever.'
The crowd munched hamburgers, chili con carne, a huge red, white and blue birthday cake and downed American beer as entertainers sang excerpts from the musical 'Oklahoma.'
Reagan and his wife, Nancy, met with several soldiers in camouflage who guard the Western side of the 103-mile Berlin wall, where the president earlier delivered an emotional speech.
'Our troops will remain here as long as they are wanted and needed by Berliners to demonstrate to the other side that force and coercion cannot succeed,' he said.
Reagan also paid tribute to the heroes of the 1948 Berlin airlift, meeting with three veteran pilots.
Tempelhof was the focal point of the allied airlift that supplied West Berliners with food and other necessities when the Soviet Union blockaded the city, 110 miles inside East German territory, in an effort to drive out the Western forces.