Yesterday marked the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Amazing that twenty years have passed since that first moment of people chipping away and bulldozing the Wall. I was living in Oklahoma at the time, and had two young children--ages three and one. I was in the midst of fixing a meal for the kids and I when the news came on TV that the Wall was coming down, and that people were crossing over from East Germany to West Germany and vice versa. I can remember standing in the living room in shock. The Berlin Wall was such an enigma--and one that seemed as if it would last forever. It was like a miracle to see people standing on the wall at work dismantling it. That was the biggest and most shocking news story of the day.
Now, back to the present and yesterday's celebrations in Berlin. Jirka and I watched the celebration live, on TV, last night. The place of the celebration was in front of the Brandenburg Gate--the area was full of boisterous people yelling and screaming with excitement. The crowd and the very air were filled with celebratory eagerness. Some of the world's older dignitaries (from the days of the cold war) were present at the lively celebration--these included Gorbachev, Lech Walesa, and Hilary Clinton. Jirka and I listened to several speeches, and then watched as giant dominoes (symbols of the original wall) were set to fall along the old path of the Berlin Wall. Talk about excitement. The crowd burst out with more celebratory screaming and excitement. We enjoyed watching this symbolic fall of the Berlin Wall from Prague.
The felling of the Berlin Wall had a direct impact on the people of the Czech Republic. For the first time, they saw that communism was actually coming to an end. The rumblings of dissatisfaction were coming to fruition. The Soviets did not retaliate with a full military occupation and crackdown of Germany as had happened in the Czech Republic in 1968--the Soviet crackdown of the Prague Spring. Jirka has told me that the Czechs really did see that the regime had no hope of surviving once the wall came down. Things were definitely going to change--and they did...on November 17th, 1989.
The fall of the Berlin Wall also had a direct impact on my life, but I had no inkling of this twenty years ago. I was in a bad marriage and had two very young daughters, and was living in the middle of Oklahoma. Who would have thought that one day I would be living in a former Eastern bloc country--one that had been behind the Wall and completely off-limits? If it wasn't for the fall of the Wall, I would not be here now--married to my Czech husband, Jiri. Our lives would have gone completely separate ways. It is amazing how something like the destruction of the Berlin Wall can have such far-reaching effects--even to bringing two people together years later. I, for one, am very thankful the Wall came down--not only for those who won freedom, but also for my husband and I. We were able to come together due to this historical event--I was able to experience the freedom of a life free from abuse, and find new life with a husband who loves and treats me well. I've been able to find love and adventure in midlife--brought about, in part, by the fall of the Berlin Wall twenty years ago.
That's all for now...you all have a great day!
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