Monday, November 9, 2009

Fall of the Berlin Wall

Berlin Wall 1961 - 1989

The Berlin Wall (German: Berliner Mauer) was a concrete barrier built by the German Democratic Republic (GDR) that completely enclosed the city of West Berlin, separating it from East Germany, including East Berlin. The Wall included guard towers placed along large concrete walls.

It is believed that Nikitia Khrushchev, the Russian leader during the Cold War, suggested that the wall between East and West Germany be constructed. Despite denial of any plans to erect a wall by Walter Ulbricht, the GDR General Secretary, construction began in August, 1961. Germany was now divided; families were split from each other; the rest of the world could do nothing.

November 9, 2009 marks the 20th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall. Brandenburg Gate was the site of a celebration to mark this event.

It was at this same location that Former President Ronald Reagan spoke those moving words in front of the Brandenburg Gate: "Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"

Today was a day of memorial services, speeches and events that attracted leaders from around the world, including former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. President Obama didn't attend in person, but In a video message screened at the main event, he paid tribute to the dissidents and demonstrators who ushered in the fall of the wall 20 years ago.

"Let us never forget Nov. 9, 1989, nor the sacrifices that made it possible," Obama said to applause and cheers.

Hillary Clinton represented the United States saying "We remember the people of the Baltics who joined hands across their land ... we remember the students of Prague who propelled a dissident playwright from a jail cell to the presidency". "And tonight we remember the Germans, and especially the Germans in the East who stood up to say 'No more.'"

The photos above were taken during a cruise vacation to the Baltic which included a stop in Warnemunde , Germany. From there, we hired a private tour guide for a tour of Berlin. We stood where the Berlin Wall once stood, visited Brandenburg Gate and other well known historical sites. It is a long drive from the ship to Berlin, but it was well worth the trip.

Let history come alive - let me help plan your Baltic cruise vacation

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