I was almost 11 years old when the Berlin Wall came down. I remember my parents watching the news and seeing all kinds of amazing images and videos. I remember Tom Brokaw breaking the news and watching everything erupt on our Channel 1 TV in our 5th grade classroom. I remember the overwhelming feeling of understanding that people had been separated from their families because of a disagreement between countries. I didn't understand why anyone would want to do that to others. I didn't understand the ideological differences that forced the wall to go up in the first place, though we had recently studied totalitarianism and communism in our CEP (curriculum enrichment program) with Mr. McGalliard. I remember the radio playing that Skorpions song over and over.
I think this might have been the beginning of my fascination with the city of Berlin. Sitting at the center of so many historical events and divided for years because of their losing status in the biggest war I could ever imagine, Berlin held an instant fascination for me that continues to this day.
Berliners haven't forgotten. Here is a picture from the Mauer Park Memorial at Bernauer Strasse.
The wall used to run just behind the Brandenburger Tor here, and is now one of the biggest tourist attractions in Berlin.
In a different part of the city, they've turned the remainder of the wall into a beautiful bike path.
Here's a map of this section, and you can really see where the wall used to be.
What I realized MUCH later, was that the wall was both about keeping the Easterners from migrating to the west AND walling in the city of West Berlin that was situated in the middle of East Germany.
The Berlin wall tore apart this city & country and then brought it back together again with reunification.
I remember feeling so happy for those people that were obviously overwrought with joy.
Now I've heard some amazing stories from both sides of the wall, including Western Berliners who were mostly peeved because public transport was overflowing for weeks and it became impossible to find bananas.
What a great first news story to be able to witness.
Yes, I feel a little old now remembering that, but definitely not as old as yesterday when the kid working at the shoe store informed me that he was born the same year as Mmm Bop came out.
Good to know my love of Berlin from afar became the impetus to get there and become part of it all.
Ich bin jetzt auch ein Teil Berlins. :-)