There are occasions we can never forget. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the assassinations of JFK, RFK, and MLK are among the occasions that come to mind.
Occasions where you not only remember where you were, you can never forget where you were, what you were doing, when you heard the news.
But there is a happy occasion that comes to mind, also: the day the Berlin Wall fell, twenty years ago on November 9. The day we woke up, most of us with nothing more pressing on our minds than what to have for breakfast, and saw the amazing images of the collapse of the Berlin Wall. Of people cavorting on top of the much-hated, nearly 100-mile-long concrete edifice.
The day communism collapsed in
One day you’d be shot for trying to cross the border (and many did die trying), the next day a giant Oktoberfest was in progress.
No one could believe it. Freedom was as “easy”—and as difficult—as that.
The escape attempts, whether successful and unsuccessful, were heartbreaking. How desperate do you have to be to make a break for freedom with your family in a homemade hot air balloon? To spend months digging a secret tunnel, with the hundreds of occasions for betrayal and discovery? To make a mad and almost certainly suicidal dash across the “death strip”?
By coincidence (having forgotten the 20th anniversary of this event was upon us) my husband and I visited the Newseum for the first time last week, where as it turns out, part of the Berlin Wall is on exhibit. This, combined with a display of Pulitzer Prize-winning photos, many of atrocities too painful to witness, and the 9-11 exhibit (ditto), provides a powerful one-two-three punch. I would urge everyone visiting