Monday, November 10, 2014

25th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall

-On August 13, 1961 East Germany began constructing the Berlin Wall which would separate East and West Germany for the next 28 years.

-Thanks in part to President Ronald Reagan and other circumstances, the wall came down on November 9, 1989.

-On June 12, 1987 President Ronald Reagan gave a speech at Brandenburg Gate urging Gorbachev to tear down the wall.  The phrase, "tear down this wall", was controversial and many of Reagan's aides didn't think he should say it.  Speech writer Peter Robinson wrote the controversial phrase, and Reagan went against the critics and kept it in the speech.  No one could've known how famous and instrumental that speech would become.

-Some excerpts from Reagan's speech:
President von Weizsacker has said, "The German question is open as long as the Brandenburg Gate is closed." Today I say: As long as the gate is closed, as long as this scar of a wall is permitted to stand, it is not the German question alone that remains open, but the question of freedom for all mankind. Yet I do not come here to lament. For I find in Berlin a message of hope, even in the shadow of this wall, a message of triumph. 

General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!
-Yesterday was the 25th Anniversary of the wall coming down. Germany celebrated and the current German Chancellor Angela Merkel led several events commemorating the fall.  She herself grew up in East Germany and was 35 years old when the wall came down.  Below are some excerpts:
German Chancellor Angela Merkel led several events Sunday, including the placing of a rose in one of the few remaining sections of the Wall  to commemorate the 138 people killed in Berlin alone as they tried to flee the Soviet-allied state.

In a speech at the main memorial site for the Wall, Merkel said that "the fall of the Wall has shown us that dreams can come true."

She called the Wall a "symbol of state abuse cast in concrete" that "took millions of people to the limits of what is tolerable."

-When I took a trip to California back in 2012, I was able to see numerous pieces of the Berlin Wall that were brought over here from Germany.  In fact, there are more pieces of the wall in the United States now than in Germany.

-It truly is a remarkable event to celebrate.  The wall coming down was a huge step for more of the world to become free and to move away from communism.  The people who live in East Germany today have a much brighter future than they did 25 years ago.

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