Twenty years later: revisiting an international event…

November 5, 2009 by  
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Those of us who may reluctantly fall into the category of the “middle aged” can reflect upon a number of historic events and our thoughts on when they happened. For me John F. Kennedy’s assassination and its announcement when I was in elementary school was the first major historic event I lived through, and experiences relating to it are still etched in my mind.

Der_TagesspiegelSome events seem impossible to be reaching notable anniversary status as they seem to have happened in the recent past. Man walking on the moon is one–it recently passed its 40th anniversary–and the Nixon/Watergate mess is now over 35 years in the past.

The fall of the Berlin Wall is now at it’s 20th anniversary. It seems impossible. I clearly recall the considerable news coverage of the event and the following actions that would lead to German unity less than one year after the walls came down. Back then I had a customer from Berlin and was able  consummate a purchase of  various Berlin newspapers covering those events, knowing that newspapers from where the news was being made would always be the best to have in a collection.

I recently dug out several titles and editions and share with you perhaps the best, being an “Extra” edition of “Der Tages Spiegel” (translates to “The Daily Mirror”) of November 10, 1989. The entire front page of this folio-size newspaper is taken up with a huge photo of people climbing onto, and celebrating, at the Berlin Wall with the Brandenburg Gate in the background. the banner headline–and the only text on the front page–translates: “The Night They Opened The Border In Berlin”. The remaining 3 pages of this four page newspaper are taken up with various articles and many photos of the celebration.

It was a joyous and memorable event for the world, and yes, it really was 20 years ago.

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One Response to “Twenty years later: revisiting an international event…”

  1. Morris on November 6th, 2009 9:53 pm

    The Berlin Wall symbolized the Cold War between East and West. For an entire generation of people it seemed as if the Wall had always been there.

    President Kennedy was inaugurated in January, 1961 and it was just a few months later the Wall was built testing the resolve of the new administration and the will of the free world.

    On June 26, 1963, five months before his assassination, President John F. Kennedy visited Berlin and made a famous speech near the Wall which included his memorable quote “Ich bin ein Berliner.”

    On June 12, 1987 President Ronald Reagan visited Berlin and in front of the Brandenburg Gate uttered his famous line, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”

    The felling of the Berlin Wall in 1989 ushered in the beginning of the end of the Soviet Empire. On December 9, 1991 the New York Times had the following headline: “Declaring Death of Soviet Union, Russia and 2 Rep. Form Commonwealth.”

    The Berlin Wall will stand in history as a remembered edifice at a time when the threat of atomic conflict was real and haunted the mind and soul of all who lived at the time.

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