Where were you when the Berlin Wall came down?
When I first heard the rumour that the Berlin Wall had fallen, I spent the night with my family at home. We ran into our living room and turned on the TV. Then we sat there, starring at the speaker who revealed the incredible news: it was true, the Berlin Wall fell on November 9, 1989. I was only 14 years old but of course I had already known about the strange border between „Germany“ and „Germany“. Shortly before the wall fell my parents and brothers and sisters and I had visited this monument of fear.
I do remember how oddly it sounded when my parents explained to me that behind the border there was still Germany but only East Germany. I felt a bit blessed, because I was born on the somehow better side of the wall. I was raised in the former American sector of West Germany. We were influenced by their music, fashion and hamburgers. And of course we wore blue jeans. All the same we were used to hearing American-English.
Sometimes I was a bit anxious. I remember the tanks rolling through our town to their military base, but at least they were not hostile to us. They never shot our people. Unlike to their Russian counterparts who brutally quashed the 1957 uprising.
When we received the news about the wall falling we were both relieved and moved to tears. My mom cried. She was always on the verge of tears and that was a very good reason to cry. We were also astonished how quickly everything happened. At the blink of an eye the wall fell and „Trabis“ sorrounded us everywhere.
Now, twenty years later, I am still impressed about this historical event. I am very interested in the TV specials about all the incidents. It became a bit clearer to me how everything happened. It was only a short remark by Mr. Schabowski, the former speaker of the SED party, who didn’t stick to the actual release date of his report. So he spoke about the exit permit without realising that he should have kept this remark confidential until the next day. But this slip of the tounge changed the world. Not only politically but also socially.
Silvio comes from the former GDR. He is the same age as me and of course also happy about the „change“. He was not supposed to fall in love with a Western girl but history couldn’t stop it. Only because the wall fell am I now happily engaged to an East German. We met in Berlin long after the „change“. But I am quite sure that I would not have lived in the city if the wall had still been there. However, it still would have been impossible for us to meet. This is why I spent last night with him at the ‚Bornholmer Brücke‘ — the bridge where the first border crossing was forced open by the GDR civilians on November 9, 1989. We crossed the bridge and celebrated the re-union. We felt a bit of the atmosphere from that ancient time. It moved us again. I am still releaved and happy about the „change“.
I really hope that we can keep this spirit alive.
Yesterday we were celebrating the re-union at the Bornholmer Brücke (bridge), the first passage from East to West.
Happy East-West-couple 🙂