A Historic Anniversary

I spent this afternoon writing today’s post, then realized it was a perfect sponsor post for A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80). So I have that (at least a first draft of it), and still needed one for today.

S. Konrath, the proprietress of the blog My Creative Wings, reminded me that this is the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. For the first time since August 1961, people were free to walk between East Berlin and West Berlin, without papers and without fear of reprisals.

We got a small fragment of the wall from a friend of ours. She had grown up in Berlin, and remembered the construction of the wall and the way it made her feel trapped. The wall held significance for us as well; it symbolized the loss of freedom, the freedom for those in the Soviet Bloc to visit us, and vice versa. President Kennedy, less than six months before he was assassinated, spoke to the people of Berlin.

Two thousand years ago, the proudest boast was civis romanus sum [“I am a Roman citizen”]. Today, in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is “Ich bin ein Berliner!”… All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin, and therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words “Ich bin ein Berliner!”

We all understood what he meant, even if what he said was “I am a jelly donut.”

A Berliner. Source: User Rainer Zenz on de.wikipedia; licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
A Berliner. Source: User Rainer Zenz on de.wikipedia; licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

In June 1987, President Reagan spoke in front of the Brandenburg Gate and dared Mikhail Gorbachev, “Tear down this wall!” I had originally tried to embed the speech, but it didn’t work out. You can see it at Wikipedia, though.

Two years later, a city reunited, and not long after that, a country did.