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)
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.