The fall of the Berlin Wall – actual anniversary

Let’s continue in the spirit of reminiscence.

Already at the beginning of October of this year, the internet spit out more photos and articles to re-capture and remember the vibes of this unbelievable event profoundly altering the German history. All NEWS stations like CNN, DW, FOX, CBS, ABC, NPR and every possible corner of Cyberspace came to life to report on the actual holiday set for October 3, the date the German government had set to remember this historic event affecting the countries’ future from that day forward. 1990 was the first year when October 3 was marked as a big holiday in every German calendar; hence, we celebrated the 20 years anniversary this year in 2010.    

However, the actual events went down , this exact week between the 8th and 12th of November 1989. This week, 21 years ago.I was living in Los Angeles to that time and was following the events on TV as they unfolded uncontrollably for the authorities. Today there is an infinite number of Web pages and pictures out there capturing the smiles, the tears and the hopes of millions of people.

Watch this little you tube flick. 

I am sure that all these people were drinking the wild air that week and that particular day. I cannot even imagine how this must have felt.  

How did you experience his event ?   


Here is a short excerpt of Chapter  “The invisible Split” of To Drink the Wild Air”.   

That day Roger and I had lunch in a little Chinese restaurant, watching it all on TV. We were witnessing a deeply emotional and monumental event of major historical impact. The Berlin wall was built in 1961 and had existed for my entire lifetime. I‘d had my own experiences crossing it to visit the Eastern part of my own country, known as the German Democratic Republic for all these years. My father had dealt with it during the postwar and Cold War years, and this wall was responsible for the final split of his own family. Already, just the idea that after twenty-eight tragic years of “The Wall” there would be at last one big, unified Germany was so huge that my mind couldn’t even grasp it. My sympathy was with the leader at the time, Mikhail Gorbachev, and his “Glasnost” movement. I was proud of the resistance of the German younger generation and general movement to acquire freedom in their lives. I knew how they were living. I understood.

Suddenly I felt this sense of belonging to my own country, although I never previously had a shred of patriotism in my bones, since patriotism in Germany was translated as the equivalent of the neo-Nazi movement I deeply oppose and had never wanted to be associated with. I wish that our nation could have been able to show, more often, a small token of national pride, but this unfortunately only came to the surface with the impact of such incredible historic events leading to the death of the Wall. I felt the tension and the excitement of the people through the television set, thousands of miles away from Berlin; I watched people in tears in utter anticipation of attaining a better life and the ultimate prize of freedom! Of course, no one really expected that Chancellor Kohl’s big decision to immediately reintegrate the seven eastern states with the whole of western Germany would lead to the decline of a once-prosperous nation. To this date, Germany still has not recovered from this economic shock.

            The next morning I phoned my parents and good friends to get their reactions to the news. Some of my friends were already on their way to Berlin to celebrate with the crowds there, and for the first time I was jealous; I was missing out on something meaningful happening in my own country. My consolation was that I was soon going to be living and working in Switzerland, much closer to the current events creating a new Zeitgeist going into the future.


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