Over the weekend, people all over the globe honored the twenty-five year anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. During the Cold War, the Berlin Wall stood as a very poignant symbol of the division that the conflict caused. It was built in 1961 by the communist government of the German Democratic Republic and, for thirty years, it prevented people from moving freely between Eastern and Western Germany.
People all over the world commemorated the anniversary by reflecting on its significance in history and the lives that were lost. In Berlin, some people walked along the remnants of the once-standing thirteen-foot tall barbed wire and concrete wall, while others honored the memories of the people who died trying to cross the border by lighting candles. Thousands of helium balloons marked the former height of the wall and were released one at a time to represent the wall’s destruction. After, fireworks were set off at the main Bradenburg Gate. Here at Boston College, a documentary, with contributions by BC faculty, about the history of the Berlin Wall was screened in Devlin.
I was able to visit Berlin this past March; I saw sections of the Berlin Wall and, although it is heartbreaking to think about how many travesties occurred during that time, it’s important to be aware of the events. The mistakes of the past can inform the decisions of the future. That’s what makes the commemoration of such a pinnacle moment in history worth learning about.