G and I recently spent three days in Berlin, Germany. I knew it was going to be cold, but I did NOT think there would be snow. We trudged around the city anyway, soaking in the history.
This was on the way to see a part of the wall. The cold weather and dreary day somehow made the whole experience more somber.
Walking along and reading about the not-so-long-ago days when Germany was the site of untold terror and violence, I felt deeply saddened by the thought of how cruel people can be. But then, at every turn I was confronted by the resilience of the people, their sheer determination to move on but yet still remember what happened to them. East Germans are a rare breed indeed. Friendly and hospitable, with a wicked sense of humor. The bleak landscape, with building after building after building, is a stark contrast to the colorful people who inhabit the city.
I wasn’t even born in 1961. But I remember the Wall. And I remember the Wall coming down. The strange thing is, I don’t think my kids know about it. And to stand there, where that unimaginable history was made, was surreal.
It made me realize how fragile our freedom really is.
I think about that fragility frequently. When people insist, “no, that could never happen in America,” I think of that wall…and the USSR…and the Nazis…anything is possible.
That is so true. The wall went up so fast – one crazy, dictatorial, charismatic guy, that is all it takes to wreak havoc on life as we know it.
I was in Germany in 1981 when I was in college and remember standing on the West side of the wall, watching the guards and hearing the stories of people shot trying to get from East to West. What a change in history we’ve seen, for the positive. Germany was absolutely a lovely country and of all the European places we traveled, the people were among the most warm, open and welcoming.