Monday, November 9, 2009

The Great Escape

Twenty years ago today something remarkable happened. Something that I always believed would happen but never believed that I'd live to see happen. Twenty years ago today the Berlin Wall came down.

For those too young to remember, the wall separated communist East Berlin from free West Berlin. It was designed to keep the people of the east from escaping oppression. Long, tall, and wide, it was actually a set of parallel walls with a large area between them to afford the guards a clear field of fire. Before the wall some 3.5 million Germans escaped, about 20% of the population of East Germany. After the wall was completed about 5000 Germans escaped. Well over 100 were killed in the attempt.

I am reminded today of something that Mohandis K. Gandhi once said. “When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it--always.”

Today bits of the wall are displayed all over the world (like this one in California), lest we forget the terrible lesson of history and the irresistible power of the human spirit striving for freedom.

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