Special events and exhibitions mark the 20th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall and the “peaceful” revolution that lead to the reunification of Germany. On Monday, November 09, 2009, this amazing celebration of embracing democracy and rejecting communism climaxed. (The Berlin Wall wasn’t completely demolished until the summer of 1990).
The wall separating east and west Berlin was first constructed in 1961, but today is gone except for a few sections left for an art project. The celebration was complete with fireworks, live music concerts, and world leaders (except ours) invoking values of liberty and democracy, and even some Americans who traveled for the greatest party of the year. Approximately 100,000 guests attended this “festival of freedom” at the grand public party located at the Brandenburg Gate.
Unfortunately German police set up barricades around the site, refused to let people through, and detained others. The barricade was set up at the intersection of Unter den Linden and Glinkastrasse, two blocks east of Brandenburg Gate, in what was once East Berlin. It was at this intersection that former President Reagan demanded “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” Surely these barricades sent shivers down many spines, especially due to the location in which they were placed. Crowd control is an obvious necessity with so many people, but this particular measure seems a bit insensitive, especially when one takes into account the fact that President Reagan was closer to the Brandenburg Gate in 1987 than some tourists could get in 2009. So, barricades aside, the festivities look amazing as they continue and I only wish I was there too! Go Berlin!