Just “Berlin”

25 years ago, East Berlin and West Berlin ceased to be, at least in spirit. For the first time in my lifetime, it was one city. Just Berlin. Germany was no longer divided.

I remember watching the live coverage on TV as the people who had gathered along and on top of the Berlin wall took whatever tools were at hand and began to break it apart–to tear it down. Although it wasn’t actually removed until years later, there were holes, and the wall and its gates were no longer the barriers they once were.

I remember seeing Germans who had not been able to do so before, cross from their side to the other without fear of punishment–in both directions. Friends and family who had been separated for too many years were reunited.

I remember seeing guards stand still and silent, not helpless, but passively refusing to stop them.

Even now, it brings tears to my eyes, to recall seeing such a universal symbol of division and hate removed by people who only wanted peace.

It’s too bad so many of our divisions are emotional and idealogical instead of physical. Those barriers are so much harder to remove.

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