When I was in first or second grade, we were divided into seven groups. Someone noticed that there were also seven continents, and we all ended up doing a report on one of the continents. I was in the Europe group. I remember standing in front of the class saying, “This is Germany. There used to be two Germanys and there was a wall. Then the wall fell down and now there is only one.” I thought that was pretty cool, though I had no idea what any of that meant. I think I just thought the pictures of the celebrations seemed pretty cool.
For my parents’ generation, the Fall of the Berlin Wall was a miracle. They were convinced that they would die and the Wall would still be there. In Europe, the Fall of the Berlin Wall seems to have been joy mixed with fear for the future. Margaret Thatcher and Mitterrand were somewhat panicked, though understandably so. For my parents, it was simply astonishment.
I also have to give another shout out to You Tube for enabling to see what my parents’ generation watched in awe and disbelief.
It was either Peter Jennings or Tom Brokaw who told the story many years later that young people came up to him that night and gave him a piece of the Wall. He thanked them and said, “I have two children.” They eagerly responded, “We’ll be right back!” and ran off to break off another piece.
Question: Did anyone in Berlin work during that time? It doesn’t appear that way.
According to the BBC, there was a huge party today in Berlin. I’m sure they had fun, but it probably paled in comparison to the original.
As it happened, Tom Brokaw was actually in Berlin when East Germany decided to allow people to travel freely. It’s hard to imagine not having the freedom to travel. I mean, as an American, I cannot travel directly to Cuba, but that’s a small thing in comparison to being separated from my family.
If you’re under the age of 25, you were born in a different world. Check out these videos to see the moment the world changed.