A few weeks ago, folks celebrated the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. As I saw photos and video clips on the news, I was reminded of the time that we spent in Berlin; it’s hard to believe that it’s been six years!
History has always been my favorite subject and back when I was in middle school/high school, I fell in love with Europe and the World War II/post-war eras. I’m not really sure why, it just resonated with me in some weird way. I’m half German; at least I’m embracing the culture of my people! (Andy says that’s where I get my stubbornness and my constant need for order and efficiency.) I’m would never classify myself as “a reader,” but I’ve devoured countless books on the topic. If it takes place in Europe between the 30’s and the 50’s or 60’s, I’ll read it. Same with movies. I was one happy lady when I finally had the opportunity to visit Germany.
My favorite place? Berlin. We were only there for a couple of days and nights; I wish we could have stayed for a month! I was so happy there and I will always cherish the memories of the time spent there with my Mister. It’s my happy place. I'm not kidding about that - ask my masseuse! The food, sights, romantic nights, walks in the rain, countless photos…we spent part of the time on our own and part of the time with my sister-in-law and brother-in-law (who is German). It was absolutely perfect.
One of the highlights for me was a walking tour that we took of famous historic Nazi/WWII sites. We spent several hours traipsing around the city visiting all of these incredible sites and buildings that I had spent a lifetime reading about. History came alive! We felt the lingering oppressive air in parts of (what used to be) East Berlin. We touched bullet holes that remain in the walls more than sixty years later. We saw memorials to those who lost their lives. We read the texts from a press conference in which a Party official said, "Niemand hat die Absicht, eine Mauer zu errichten!" (No one has the intention of building a wall!) But that was clearly a lie. We saw the Wall. And although there is no way for us to comprehend the enormity of what that meant to those who lived on the other side, separated from their loved ones, we stood there and soaked it all in; we breathed history and we imagined what it would have been like to be living there in another time.
So today, as I ponder the recent anniversary of the opening of the borders, I remember those who gave their lives attempting to flee and instigate change, and I’m thankful for those who helped to bring an end to a terrible time in history. I pray that it can be a reminder of lessons learned and that history won't repeat itself. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to walk those very streets and I am ever hopeful to one day return for an extended stay.
In my own very minuscule way, I remember the Wall.