Monday, November 10, 2014

The Fall of The Wall

August 13, 1961-November 9, 1989. 

This is one gravestone I am happy to see.

It's been 25 years since the Berlin Wall fell.

 (A haunting whistle and a song about the ending of the Cold War)

By the time my son was born, in upstate New York, the Wall had already fallen.  But, since the day it literally rose overnight in my childhood, that Wall became part of the Cold War that I grew up in.

The wall separated neighborhoods.  It separated families.  People risked their lives trying to flee to freedom in West Berlin.  At least 136 people died in connection with the Wall (including at least one guard shot by an escapee.)

Ceremonies were held this weekend in Berlin to commemorate the end of the Wall.  Mikhail Gorbachev  and Lech Walesa joined German Chancellor Merkel in celebrating.  It is noteworthy that Chancellor Merkel grew up in East Germany (she was born in West Germany) and was in a crowd that headed to West Berlin that incredible day.

East Berlin.  East Germany.  West Berlin.  West Germany.  Even 25 years later, the names sound so natural to me.  Germany was divided up by the victorious allies after World War II ended, seven years before I was born, and Berlin, located in East Germany, was similarly divided.   After all, those names were a part of most of my life.  I am grateful that my son never had to learn those names except in a history class.

My son ended up taking two years of German in high school, and would play online games with German teenagers.  Theirs was a generation that didn't have to live through what my generation did and what the Greatest Generation that suffered so in World War II went through before then.

Last night, in Berlin, eight thousand white balloons were released into the air, followed by fireworks over the Brandenburg Gate.

The Berlin Wall now exists in pieces spread all over the world.  But parts still stand in Berlin.  Look at them, and ponder the depths of what mankind can do to itself.

6 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing this. I can honestly say I was moved by your words.

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  2. Very inspiring written, Thank you for letting me know on what happen to the Berlin Wall.

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  3. Wow, I remember this event as if it was recently, and not so long ago! Nice summary and memorial post!

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  4. My family and I visited Berlin two summers ago, and it was eye opening to my children that such a situation could have existed in such recent history. We were amazed at how much of the wall's history is openly displayed all over the city, with huge prints of photos displayed on buildings along Bernauerstrasse, displays within the subway stations, and the cobblestone line all through the city. You may be interested to read about the Chapel of Reconciliation (Berlin).

    We also saw that Berlin is very much a city in the midst of re-building. Cranes, construction, and temporary structures everywhere!

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  5. I love learning about history. I used to love it at school.
    Thanks for this interesting post, Alana!

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  6. Excellent tribute. I think of this saying by George Santayana "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

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