Ich bin ein Berliner

A chunk of the Berlin Wall at the Reagan Library

A chunk of the Berlin Wall at the Reagan Library

On November 9th, the world will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Berlin Wall being torn down. For 28 years, the wall separated families and kept East Germans imprisoned without basic freedoms. Its demise, which occurred after some of the Eastern European countries had already ousted their Communist regimes, was the visible sign heralding the end of the Cold War.

“Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” President Reagan spoke these powerful words at the Brandenburg Gate several years earlier, on June 12, 1987. His security advisors had warned him that those sentences would be too provocative, but Reagan would not budge. He even made sure the speakers pointed over the wall so the East Germans could hear him loud and clear.

The words from Habakkuk 1:5, with which I started my book, describe how much of the world felt as we watched the events of those days unfold:

Look among the nations! Observe! Be astonished! Wonder!
Because I am doing something in your days –
you would not believe if you were told.”

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